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Hero of Another Story

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"Everyone’s the lead in their own story, Administrator. Some roles are bigger, some smaller, but none are more important, understand?"
Glaistig Uaine, Worm

In works of fiction, it often seems like the world revolves around the Main Characters, that nothing interesting happens unless one of them is in the middle of it. And sometimes that’s true; sometimes the main cast are so important that nothing big can happen without their involvement. But other times, it’s not that the Main Characters are the only ones that stories happen to; it’s that we only see the stories that happen to the Main Characters.


It turns out the supporting characters have their own adventures going on off-screen, where they’re the stars and the Main Characters only make cameo appearances. These characters are the Heroes of Another Story: we may not see much of their adventures, but it adds something to the fictional world if we know these people continue to lead interesting lives even when the Main Characters aren’t around.

On occasion, we'll see one of these characters get A Day in the Limelight and they'll become The Protagonist for an episode. This often makes the real cast the Hero of Another Story for the episode, as they'll be off on their own adventures in the meantime. Alternatively, a P.O.V. Sequel might be done to tell the same story from their perspective.

Another Side, Another Story is a subtrope, where you actually get to play the other stories, but not before you unlock their heroes first.


Compare Supporting Leader. Naturally, this will result when someone encounters the main character(s) of another series via Crossover or a Poorly Disguised Pilot. See also Little Hero, Big War, for settings that often have a bunch of heroes of other stories. See also Superman Stays Out of Gotham for cases where the main characters have powerful allies who are busy dealing with problems of their own. Depending on how well written the character is they could become an Ensemble Dark Horse. When these sorts of characters are only hinted at, see Unknown Character. The villainous inverse would be Villain of Another Story.

Compare Lower-Deck Episode, where minor characters get a brief chance to shine, or Spin-Off, where the character gets an entire series devoted to them.



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  • A commercial for an insurance company lampshades Star Trek's tendency to do avoid this, with a man on a spaceship in Starfleet uniform saying, "I'm just saying, why does Enterprise get all of the good missions?" The ship then shakes, and he says, "Finally," only for it to turn out to be an alien ship that hit him by accident.

    Anime & Manga 
  • A Place Further than the Universe: While Kimari is off on her adventure in Antarctica, Megumi, her childhood friend, goes on her own adventure at the Arctic following Kimari's example to be adventurous and independent.
  • This occurs frequently in the works of Leiji Matsumoto: Captain Harlock and Queen Emeraldas occasionally have made either been referenced or made cameo appearances in Galaxy Express 999 and Galaxy Railways. The Space Battleship Yamato had a very brief cameo in Harlock Saga as well as in the Galaxy Express 999 manga. In all such cases, however, the crew of the Yamato is never seen.
  • Played for laughs in Ben-To as Satou muses about his own uneventful life so far:
    Satou: Other than that my life's been pretty boring, especially compared to my pal Ishioka from Junior High. That guy's got enough material for a prime-time TV show that'd sell millions of DVDs.
  • With its massive cast and complex backstory, Bleach has some subplots that could easily become entire manga series of their own:
    • Uryu Ishida is the protagonist of the story of the Quincy Clan's rise and fall and his quest to reclaim his family's heritage. He serves as an important Foil for Ichigo so his story runs parallel to, rather than within, the main plotline. In the Thousand Year Blood War arc, he even becomes the Unexpected Successor to the Quincy Emperor Yhwach.
    • Toushirou Hitsugaya is a prodigy who rose to captain in record time. He gets an unusually well-developed personality and backstory separate from Ichigo's plotline. He also shares time with a gaggle of less powerful characters during the Soul Society arc, including childhood friend Momo and subordinate Rangiku. This group of characters has a far more personal connection to the bad guys than Ichigo does, and some of their stories play out while Ichigo is otherwise occupied before the focus switches back to Ichigo for the final battle. Hitsugaya's history of unusual power at a young age and having to cope with the alienation it causes is even parallel to that of Aizen's: the difference between them being that Hitsugaya came through the other side having found a place, friends and allies, whereas Aizen felt so alienated, he turned his back on everyone and the world instead.
    • Kisuke Urahara, as Ichigo's Mysterious Backer, alludes to an extensive offscreen history of rivalry with Aizen, with Ichigo's involvement beginning only later. He's also got a decades-long history with Isshin and Ryuuken that is only explored in the Final Arc.
    • Yamamoto was already a warrior of great renown 2000 years before the main story, and built much of the present Soul Society around himself. In particular he established the Shinigami Academy, which has trained the vast majority of Shinigami for the last 2000 years. His body is covered in a road map of old scars, each one of which presumably has a story behind it (we know the scars on his forehead do). Yamamoto's millennium-long struggle with Yhwach, the Quincy Emperor, gives the Thousand Year Blood War arc its name but is mostly unexplained.
  • Chiaki from Bodacious Space Pirates. She has her ship that she works on with her dad, and does a lot of things which often forces her to suffer from being Out of Focus (despite appearing prominently in the opening and ending sequences). She also fills in for Marika's pirate role in some episodes while the real one is working on a more covert mission.
  • Touya, the main character’s brother, from Cardcaptor Sakura, has some magical powers of his own that are distinct from his sister’s, which allow him to deduce that Sakura has become a Magical Girl despite her attempts to keep it secret as well as that Yukito and Mirror are not human. He also has a backstory with several other magical people, including Kaho and Yukito, long before his sister found the Book of Clow, and towards the end, he gets more character development than pretty much anyone except Sakura herself. Fans often joke that if he had been the Cardcaptor instead of Sakura, the series would be half its length.
  • A Certain Magical Index:
  • Digimon Tamers had Ryo, a character with a fairly small role in the grand scheme of the Tamers story, but who was literally the hero of another story (a set of video games that were never released in the west)
  • In Dog Days, most of the plot involves non-fatal sports-like "war" (where literally Nobody Can Die) and the Ordinary High-School Student becoming "the Hero" while Trapped in Another World. Two of the characters in that world, a samurai and ninja partner team (Lady Brioche and her subordinate Yukikaze), are hunters of monsters and demons. While two episodes of the plot deal with a similar entity, even the monster that the main characters fight are redeemable as opposed to the untold Darker and Edgier dealings they handle. They are polite and make gestures at helping the main characters, but it's clear they normally deal with things on a totally different level, and aren't nearly using their full abilities at the games the rest of the cast are playing.
  • The Universal Survival Tournament in Dragon Ball Super involves the champions of several universes taking place in a massive battle royal, where Goku and the gang are just one of the teams are involved. Naturally, this means that heroes from the other universes are fighting for their own survival, such as the superheroic Pride Troopers of Universe 11, and the magical girl Kamikaze Fireballs of Universe 2. We're only given fleeting glimpses of their universes in the lead up to the tournament, but it's clear they all have other issues and adversaries to contend with in their own stories.
  • Fate/kaleid liner PRISMA☆ILLYA: Shirou Emiya, Miyu's older brother and the person who kick-started the plot by sending her to Illya's world. His significance is revealed late in 3rei, where his past is explored through a flashback. In contrast with the Illya's more idealistic story about her struggles as a Magical Girl, his is a darker one focusing on his time as a participant of the Holy Grail War and his life-and-death battle against the Ainsworths to save his sister.
  • In GANTZ, after following for quite a long time the adventures of a team of fighters from Tokyo, we learn that there's another team in Osaka. And then one in Rome. And in Germany, the USA, etc... Basically, there are GANTZ teams everywhere on the globe, often stronger and more experienced than the Tokyo team.
  • Gate has the rest of the JSDF, Itami wasn't the only one making friendly contacts in the special region. The Third Recon team also serves as this when Itami is relieved of his command and the team is sent to Akusho.
  • Goblin Slayer plays with this in that Goblin Slayer and his party are the "another story". While they clear out goblin dens, a battle against the Demon Lord for the fate of the world is occurring just offscreen, led by Hero, a young adventurer who has been crossing paths with Goblin Slayer since he saved her hometown from goblins.
  • The Gundam franchise has quite a few, thanks in part to the substantial lore, Expanded Universe material, and a number of characters that have popped up over the decades. Among the most notable is Kai Shiden, a supporting character from the original Mobile Suit Gundam who, in addition to returning as a veritable badass in Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam as part Intrepid Reporter, part James Bond, has a number of side stories and manga following his off-screen exploits such as the Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam Day After Tomorrow manga.
  • Haikyuu!!: Due to the nature of the show, any opponent team Karasuno is playing against gets their fair share of highlights, flashbacks, and character moments throughout their arcs. However, a clearer case is during the Nationals arc when Karasuno and Inarizaki's game gets put on the backburner for a while to focus on Nekoma's match against Sarukawa Tech. Justified, as it is setting up to the upcoming match of Karasuno vs Nekoma which is the most-anticipated arc of the series since the beginning.
  • Hajime no Ippo: Many of Kamogawa Gym's opponents get a fair amount of focus during each arc, and the series usually gives an in-depth look at their gym, their aspirations, their friends and family, and the people coaching them.
  • The Ojou Tsuruya of Haruhi Suzumiya is implied to be this. In addition to flat-out calling Unreliable Narrator Kyon on being bad at upholding the Masquerade (but says that she's content to sit back and watch the antics), she is in possession of at least one potential plot coupon and it is known that her (apparently stupidly rich) family are one of the financial supporters of Koizumi's Organization.
  • In the Hayate the Combat Butler manga, it seems like Hayate's older brother is shaping up to this. We haven't actually seen him yet, but we've met a few people he helped, years ago.
  • In Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?, there is the main protagonist Bell who works as an adventurer as part of the Hestia Familia. Thing is, Hestia Familia isn't unique, and in fact are rookies, and there are plenty of adventurers besides Bell, each up to their own adventure of varying interest and excitement. Loki Familia in particular has their own spin-off series.
  • The setting of Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken! takes place in the year 2051, and the first major project the titular trio takes on is based on the Mini-Mecha owned by their school's Robot Club, which has been active with members in the present time since the 1800s.
    • There are many other clubs at the school who get up to their own bizarre shenanigans and have similar obstacles to contend to. The titular club is just the one the audience is following and has only recently formed.
  • Kino's Journey:
    • Kino meets a male counterpart; an exiled prince with a talking dog. They go their separate ways after one chapter. In the novels that the anime is based on he is one of the main heroes as he appears in stories of his own, all of which are narrated by his dog, Riku. This trope still does apply though, in that every once in a while he will cross paths with Kino and these stories are never narrated by Riku and are told in the third person, just like all the stories that focus on Kino. The same trope also applies to Shishou (or "master"), the woman who taught Kino and used to go on travels of her own. In the anime, we only see her as an old woman, once in a flashback during the main 13 episodes and during the movie ~Life Goes On~, which is set during the time Kino is living with her, but the novels include stories about the travels of a much younger Shishou and her unnamed student.
  • Lyrical Nanoha:
    • Major Genya Nakajima, commander of Ground Forces Unit 108. There to lend additional assistance when the heroes need help on an investigation, or to provide a Red Shirt Army to protect against The Siege while the heroes go off to handle the named villains.
    • Chrono Harlaown starts out as one of the main characters but becomes a stronger and stronger version of this trope as the series goes on, culminating in his apparent leadership of a large portion of the TSAB's Navy but barely being a part of the story in StrikerS.
    • Inspector Acous, also of StrikerS, likewise gives the impression of staring in his own story; which only briefly intersects with the main characters despite having the same bad guys. Ditto for Sister Schach, who apparently teams up with Acous about halfway through the series.
  • Basically every king candidate in Magi: Labyrinth of Magic is this. They all start their adventure by completing a dungeon and gather True Companions in the form of a household and they go to live their own adventure while at times meeting other king candidates.
    • Among them, Sinbad is the paragon of this trope. He has lived countless adventures already when the story begins and is known in the universe as The Hero. He even gets his own spin-off to tell his adventures.
  • The big sister of the main character of Mayoi Neko Overrun! tends to go missing for several days and return with heroic tales to tell.
  • The main characters of Mei Company are a Cleanup Crew. Magical Girl Warriors battle monsters in the background and Mei Company often watches and comments on them before moving in to clean up the battlefield after they leave.
  • Maria from My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! takes this quite literally. When the world was just a normal otome game, she was the main character of the story, with each of the main guys being her love interests and Catarina being the nastiest of her romantic rivals. However, after the memory situation with Catarina, her role has been flipped, and instead, she has become a love interest for Catarina, with her former love interests and the rivals for said love interests becoming rivals for Catarina's love now.
  • Naruto:
    • Gaara was introduced during the Chunin Exams. One can only imagine the story of how he went from the repentant Dark Magical Guy to the most loved man in his home village.
    • There are also at least 3 other teams that we rarely see in the show, and they're all implied to be out fighting their own battles offscreen.
    • Also Killer Bee, who was hated/feared as a child (due to having the 8-tails inside him) and is now considered a hero in his village.
    • Or even Kakashi during the 12 years in between Naruto's birth and the start of the story. We know that he went from being an undoubtedly heartbroken, traumatized teenager to a relatively well-adjusted adult who is highly respected within the village. How did he become this man after losing everyone he loved? Why did he quit ANBU?
      • Fortunately for fans, the anime did run an arc detailing the life of Kakashi's missing years.
    • Hanabi, Hinata's younger sister, actually got a two-episode anime-exclusive arc dealing with how she came to be the heiress to the Hyuga Clan. Parts of the story are actually flashbacks to earlier episodes (such as the Chūnin Exam arc) retold from Hanabi's perspective.
  • Negima! Magister Negi Magi:
    • Practically every other member of class 3-A counts. There's a vampire that has lost her powers and been sealed in the school, a Robot Girl who works for said vampire, a half-demon swordswoman hired to protect the heir to a magic association, said heir to the magic association who has been kept in the dark about her powers, an ex-priestess turned sniper for hire, a mysterious acrobat who isn't completely human and rarely speaks, a Mad Scientist who developed and maintains the aforementioned robot, a ninja, a Cute Ghost Girl, a martial artist who won the school's annual martial arts tournament the year before, a pair of bookworms who regularly explore a giant library filled with traps, a rumormonger who explores said giant library with the aforementioned bookworms, a net idol who keeps her pastimes secret from her classmates, and a time-traveling martian from the future who is descended from the main character. And that's not even acknowledging the more normal characters like the cheerleaders, the gymnast, or the basketball player. There are even a few chapters that focus on delivering the message that everyone is the hero of their own story.
    • When Rakan shows the class Negi's Dad's story in the Paru-sama's theatre, one gets the impression that this is the abridged version of a potentially epic shounen story in its own right.
    • Invoked in a scene with Ako.
      Negi: We are all the main characters of our own story.
  • Ryoji Kaji from Neon Genesis Evangelion qualifies. His investigation of the Instrumentality Council happens almost entirely offscreen but is implied to have been a long and convoluted project of his, complete with at least two "supporting" characters.
  • One Piece:
    • Any D is the Hero Of Another Story. Ace is the most notable, with an arc driving about a third of the series. However, Blackbeard qualifies, from a Villain Protagonist perspective, performing feats like deposing King Wapol, breaking in to Impel Down, and joining the Battle of Marineford.
    • In the manga, the entire crew sans Luffy get demoted to heroes of other stories during the consecutive Amazon Lily, Impel Down and Marineford Arcs as they basically each become the hero of a different island so Luffy can have an adventure with a fresh supporting cast. This differs from the normal split up arcs because we don't get to see the crew's stories while they are away, it's just implied with sparse glimpses and tellings. However, in the anime, they each get episodes explaining this more in-depth every so often while the story still mainly follows Luffy. This stops at the Return to Shabody Arc.
    • The Eleven Supernovas: they are all the rookie pirates that have started their journey through the Grand Line but managed to amass serious bounties and by coincidence, all happened to be on Shabaody at the same time. In total, they are nine pirate crews, including the protagonistsnote . They all had their offscreen journey, their wacky crews, their own dreams. During the arc, they all have their own battles with marine forces. During the time skip, they also continued to have their adventures in the New World and now that the Strawhats are heading there, the others are becoming plot-important — Trafalgar Law achieved the title of Warlord of the Sea during the timeskip and now joins forces with Luffy to take down Doflamingo and then one of the Four Emperors. Eustass Kid (with Killer), Scratchman Appo and Basil Hawkins also allied themselves to take down another. Jewelry Bonney had an unfortunate run-in with Blackbeard and Akainu, but managed to escape. The rest haven't appeared as of yet, but are expected to show up at some point as well.
    • There's also Red-Haired Shanks and his crew, who've been going on adventures since before the beginning of the story and still do so while playing a major part in the overall Myth Arc. At this point in the story, Shanks is one of the most powerful pirates in the world.
    • The members of the Marines are this; for example, Smoker, who has been chasing Luffy since encountering him. Every time he has been seen since then, he has had a new rank, safe for the Summit War. Another example is Aokiji/Kuzan, who manipulated first the news after Enies Lobby in favor of the Franky Family, and, after resigning, apparently is investigating the underworld. Finally, there are Coby and Helmeppo, who even have their own cover story arc.
    • The manga often has little mini-arcs contained within each chapter's title page) dedicated to characters the Straw Hats encountered (usually the villains) showing where they are now. Examples include Eneru finally reaching the Moon, taking out a band of Space Pirates and finally ruling over the moon with a group of ancient robots as his subjects, Wapol's Rags to Riches story after he's flung to another island by Luffy and has to start all over, and Caribou getting caught up in a revolution against Kaido.
  • The Pokémon Chronicles had an episode do this with a different character in the series, be it Misty, Richie, or Brock.
  • Ranma ½:
    • Pansuto Taro. The only character he has any connection to (or wants any connection with) in the cast is Happōsai. As such whenever he appears his plot is at a right-angle to the rest of the series, and the appearance of any of the regulars seems like it's contractually mandated.
    • Also Ryōga, with his terrible sense of direction that's led to him wandering all over the world, and his humorously unrequited crush on his rival's fiancée.
  • Sailor Moon:
    • Minako has quite the story on her own in Codename: Sailor V, and only enters the main one after its end. And the manga implies she still has some adventures off-screen in which Sailor Moon is her sidekick.
    • Haruka and Michiru are usually living their own adventure while the protagonists are in Tokyo. In the anime, they even leave after the third season specifically to do this.
  • The Gold Saint Leo Aiolia from Saint Seiya is this in Saint Seiya: Episode.G and in Saint Seiya: Soul of Gold (in the latter this apply to all the Gold Saints).
  • There are many examples in Sgt. Frog, the biggest one likely being Yamato and Kapuu. Yamato is a boy who found a creature called Kapuu, and alongside his friends, went on many adventures with him, even going to magical worlds and space, and fighting against evil Yokai. Kapuu had a verbal tic, and claimed to be a hero of justice, but was actually quite clumsy and couldn't even swim, in spite of resembling a frog. Yamato also has his own supporting cast of friends. And, yet, he was just a one-shot Keroro character in both the anime and the manga. Fuyuki meets him right after Kapuu had disappeared for unknown reasons, and notes the similarities between their stories. The manga version of the story even ends with a report where Fuyuki writes about how he realized now that the world didn't spin around him, and other stories similar to his own could happen elsewhere, basically Lampshade Hanging this trope, for readers who hadn't understood the point of the story.
    • In the anime, Yamato is voiced by Rika Matsumoto, Pokemon's Ash original voice actress, and the episode title used a "De Arinsu" verbal tic, rather than Keroro's "De Arimasu". The narrator even had to make it clear that the viewer still was watching Keroro after a few minutes into the episode, before the recurring Keroro characters appeared in the story.
    • The third movie ends with Dark Keroro traveling to another planet, while followed by his former subordinates, and, while infiltrating the planet to start a new invasion, he's found by a couple of siblings very similar to Fuyuki and Natsumi in a similar way to the events of Keroro's first episode, with the implication that a similar story will happen there.
    • In addition to that, several of the Captain Ersatz and Expy characters in the show are shown to have their own off-screen adventures, like Baio's and Ouka's Street Fighting battles which are acknowledged several times in the anime and manga. Ouka even reveals that she had already faced nonhuman opponents in the manga (while having flashbacks to thinly disguised versions of several of the odder characters from Street Fighter III). Meanwhile, Orara, a Keronian Goku expy, stopped by the Hinata's once and defeated a villain that collected planets, all while preparing for a tournament that would take place in the secret Alien Street on Earth.
    • There are other Keronian platoons, like the Garuru platoon, as well as individual Keronians, like the invader salesman Urere, who are often in their own missions for the army and invasions in other planets, only sometimes crossing path with the Keroro platoon when they visit Earth for one reason or another.
  • Vyura and Chor Rubor on Simoun and Chor Caput, and the Arcus Niger. Vyura is later promoted to the main cast.
  • The 501st unit gets the bulk of the action in Strike Witches in the anime, but there's a whole mess of other squadrons out there, each doing their own thing. The manga does a good job showing off these other units and what they're up to.
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann example: Kittan is this when first introduced but becomes a member of the main cast at the beginning of part two. While Simon, Kamina, and Yoko were having their adventures he was stealing gunmen and gathering a crew. There's enough material there for GAINAX to write a midquel with Kittan as The Protagonist.

    Comic Books 
  • The mysterious night shift team in the Hero Hotline mini-series in The DCU.
  • Pick a superhero. Any superhero. Odds are they have had an adventure and encountered Spider-Man, Wolverine, Superman, Batman... To an extent, all superheroes are this, considering they tend to live in a universe full of characters with their own respective series.
  • Spider-Man:
    • Spider-Man's first encounter with the Sinister Six had Iron Man playing this role; also subverted, when he encounters the X-Men and they turn out to be android duplicates programmed to try and kill him.
    • It was once a common occurrence that every time the Sinister Six showed up, Spider-Man would call the Avengers and Fantastic Four, only to find out that they were on other missions. Other superheroes would eventually come to his aid, however.
    • The first Spider-Man Annual is full of this. He couldn't go two pages without crossing paths with another superhero who is off on his own adventure (while the narrator points out that you can follow said hero's adventures in his respective comic).
    • Maximum Carnage shows this trope too, as both the Avengers and the Fantastic Four are specifically mentioned as being away. At one point, Spidey and Venom break into the FF's headquarters while they're away to steal a sonic weapon to fight Carnage. Later, Captain America shows up to lend a hand, and the rest of the Avengers finally return just in time to mop up after Carnage is defeated.
  • In a Simpsons Comics Halloween story parodying Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Homer runs from the pod people and, a little outside Springfield, crosses paths with a man from Shelbyville who is fleeing a horde of zombies. The two chat for a while about their respective predicaments before the Shelbyvillean gets to his turn, saying it was nice to meet Homer; Homer returns the compliment, wishing him luck with the undead.
  • Sin City will do this to the point where actual stories will intersect. For instance, in Yellow Bastard we see Marv in the background in the scene where Nancy runs off with Hartigan. They go off and have their own adventure. In Just Another Saturday Night, we see this scene from Marv's viewpoint, lamenting that "Nancy ran off with some old guy" before going off to have his own adventure.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic (IDW):
    • While the mane six were dealing with the Changelings, Spike and Princess Celestia were fighting off a horde of giant, magic cockatrices in Canterlot. Also, Princess Luna makes a small cameo at the end holding a map of Manehatten, implying she may have been the one to deal with the giant magical marshmallow pony that Celestia mentioned (or tried to see how she's lost).
    • After her Heel–Face Turn in the show, Trixie now wanders Equestria having adventures and helping others, occasionally meeting and teaming up with the Mane Six.
  • Hellblazer: John Constantine started out this way, back when he was still just a supporting character in Swamp Thing. Once he got his own series, a few characters from other series' in the DC/Vertigo continuity appeared prior to his series gaining effectively its own continuity, most notably Morpheus from The Sandman.
  • The Sandman:
    • Had appearances by John Constantine and Martian Manhunter in the first arc.
    • There are also references to a few of the DC superheroes who carried the Sandman title while Morpheus was imprisoned, Hector Hall even attempts to fight Morpheus in one chapter.
    • In one issue Morpheus grants an audience to a group of children on a cross-dimensional adventure to find their parents, they appear for half a page before the king of Dreams sends them on their way.
  • All-Star Superman:
    • Superman at one point mentions Batman and Robin, but we never actually see them in the series.
    • One issue sees him stranded on a planet of Bizarros, including Bizarro versions of his teammates in the Justice League, meaning they probably exist in this universe too, but just aren't shown.
  • Birthright establishes the five mages as heroes born of Terrenos — except for Sameal, who was born on another world. This means he somehow developed mage powers, jumped worlds alone, became a top-ten mage in a magic-using world, volunteered to fight God King Lore for years, and led the five to seal Lore away from Earth.
  • Thunderclash is treated this way in the first season of Transformers: More than Meets the Eye. He is leading his own expedition to find the Knights of Cybertron and just happens to cross paths with the Lost Light. The two crews wind up joining up during season 2.
  • Spider-Men II: In trying to solve the mystery of Miles Morales-616, Peter Parker reaches out to Jessica Jones at Alias Investigations. She quickly mentions she did an exhaustive search, while the art shows a few panels of what she's been up to: a team-up with Spider-Woman, a Dazzler concert, a battle with the Red Hulk, wrestling the Blob, interviewing Moon Girl, and running from what appear to be motorcycling ninjas.
  • The first issue of Touch briefly mentions an NYPD cop who got powers and became a superhero, but he never physically appears.
  • MediEvil: Fate's Arrow: Kiya ended up back in ancient Egypt after her and Dan's separation, where she defeated a warlock bent on summoning Anubis before having her high priest return her to her eternal rest. Dan only finds this out upon returning to her tomb and finding a letter in her sarcophagus' hands.

    Fan Works 
  • Abraxas (Hrodvitnon): Reluctant Mad Scientist Mariko and the mercenary Tejada slightly, after they pull a Screw This, I'm Outta Here! on Alan Jonah and they hole up with other survivors against the onslaught of the Many.
  • Along Came a Spider is mostly about how the well-prepared Federated Commonwealth holds off the Clan Invasion. On the other end of the Invasion, there's the Draconis Combine which didn't have advance warning but somehow struggle through the war.
  • The Resident Evil fic Epic: The Third Survivor is this, telling of Sherry Birkin's exploits prior to and during Resident Evil 2.
  • Tiberium Wars features this in the form of several officers and commanders fighting other battles. As with the main characters of the story, though, Anyone Can Die is in full force.
  • The Sun Soul has a few of these. Ash Ketchum leads his core party of intrepid heroes all over the place, but along they meet up with a number of recurring individuals who work towards similarly heroic ends off-screen. So far, not many of these have been Killed Off for Real, but given the author's willingness to kill anyone...
  • In the Fallout 3 fan fiction Trouble, Harkness encounters the Lone Wanderer, the protagonist of the game, who goes through in-game quests off-screen while the story takes place.
  • The other mercenaries count in Racer And The Geek, especially Keffiyeh and Goggles.
  • The Hunter is one of these in With Strings Attached. The four are unfortunately sucked into some of his adventures... and he is fortunately sucked into theirs.
  • Doctor Whooves and Assistant works a lot like this. The Doctor and Ditzy Doo's adventures run side by side with those of the main cast of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. For example, while the mane cast was heading off to fight Nightmare Moon, the Doctor and Ditzy went that way before them and fought the Manticore first. The mane cast is seen at some points, but only from the view of the Doctor and Ditzy.
  • The Arbiter in The Last Spartan has been investigating Cerberus at least a month before the story began, and even tells The Chief he went on several missions lifted directly from the game relating to them before they had met again.
  • In Mortality, Inspector Patterson is defined as this from his first appearance, introduced as the man who's been undercover in Professor Moriarty's criminal empire for the past several years.
  • In The Hearth Series, Marcus, Ludovicus, Muhammad, Yao, Sadik, Nefertiti, and Helene serve as this. Throughout the stories of the shenanigans of the residents of Hearth, we get hints of their own adventures including how they all met in ancient times and lived for hundreds of years through their discovery of the secret of immortality, but the exact stories have yet to be told.
  • Human Curiosity has a few, including Lukas (a man who comes from a long line of members of the Swiss Guard, and who rescues and temporarily protects Liechtenstein from the HCS) and several nations such as Russia, who were vital in helping everyone escape from the HCS facility. Among other things, sequel fic has several chapters telling their stories.
  • Reimagined Enterprise (a fan prose remake of Star Trek: Enterprise) has all the ones of Enterprise (if at times heavily modified) as well as repeatedly showing that other (non-NX-class) UESPA starships do in fact get involved in important matters, as well. The episode "Of Another Story" takes it to the point of not even having the main characters appear for a cameo, being instead entirely about the Daedalus and a historic event the ship and her crew is involved in.
  • Pony POV Series:
    • Minty Pie becomes this in the latter end of Dark World. She rushes after the new Elements of Harmony to help them fight Discord, but falls into a cavern network, where she has a series of adventures and a Big Bad of her own, which the reader only sees bits and pieces of. She finally joins up with the others just in time for the Final Battle with Nightmare Paradox.
    • The "7 Dreams/Nightmares" collection has Logan, who shows up in Clover's and Bright Eyes' stories and saves both them and their families from monsters created by the disaster with the Yellow shard of the Rainbow of Light, during his quest to find his parents. Luna suggests to Twilight that he continued to do so for the rest of his life (help others, that is; he did eventually find his parents).
    • The Shining Armor Arc has Commander Bond, who handles several espionage-related investigations while Shining and Cadence are busy with politics, and the anti-Hooviet rebels led by Dima and Mother Deer (who have been fighting Makarov a lot longer than Shining has).
    • The Wedding Arc primarily focuses on the Mane Six and their friends fighting off the Changelings, but there's a side story focusing on Misfit Actual, Shining's command squad, as they perform covert operations against the Changeling occupation of Canterlot.
    • The Wedding Arc also has a Noodle Incident version of this, where a few cutaway scenes show that Captive Audience (a member of Misfit) somehow got roped into an adventure with the Doctor and his companions in Neighpon, fighting Dracozilla and the Daleks.
    • In the Finale Arc, the Cutie Mark Crusaders call out Phobia for constantly showing up just to give them cryptic advice and then ditching them. He lectures them on how while they have their own adventure to save the world, he's working behind the scenes to save individual lives and set up ways for them to win. He even mentions the trope Hero of Another Story by name and points out even if they don't know what the other heroes are doing, they are equally important. Later, the CMC just barely miss running into the Doctor, who cured Lickety Split of being a werewolf. Daring Do, Flash Sentry, and others also have individual adventures saving people.
  • Luigi and his team of heroes get the spotlight in Paper Luigi X. While Team Mario is busy rescuing Team ZAP from the clutches of the X-Nauts, Team Luigi is busy rescuing Princess Eclair.
  • Recurring characters Dr. Kit Bennett, alias Kathy Watson and retired D.I. Michael Lestrade in Children of Time.
  • Horseshoes and Hand Grenades has many adventures running parallel to the Kyoto Arc:
    • Month of Sundays: A group of Amanogawa High students fight off against Foundation X and a strange serpent who can transform people into dolls.
    • SplitxEnd: Yayoi Tokuda, a college student and former Zodiarts, teams up with Haruto Souma to uncover the truth about Gentaro's past.
    • Wheel of Fortune: Mei Shirakawa tries to determine fate with her tarot cards while looking up the origins on Yamada Tatsumori.
    • Quick To The Trigger is a fanfic regarding a comment Owner made way back in Horseshoes, telling on what Ryotaro, Kotaro, and Yuto are doing that has Power Rangers and Kamen Riders teaming up against a future threat.
  • In The Manehattanverse, Twilight was sent to Manehattan instead of Ponyville; a lot of the events that occured there still happened, but were resolved in different manners by the remaining members of the Mane Six offscreen.
  • The various Shadowchasers Series fanfics have these a lot. The series features an organization that is spread out globally, and members of the local group featured in one story often show up in another, from time to time.
  • In the Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Starship Troopers crossover fic Garbed in Steel, Johnny Rico himself, the hero of Starship Troopers is this to Sergeant Buffy Summers of the Mobile Infantry.
  • Reimagined Enterprise: UESPA might only have two NX-class starships (the second, Columbia, commanded by Captain Erika Hernandez), but Shran is reminiscent of his counterpart in the canonical show, and Earth has other classes of ships. The eponymous episode "Of Another Story" focuses entirely on Captain Paul Stiles of the Daedalus and one of the incidents the Daedalus is involved.
  • Idol Hooves, the changeling protagonist of The Changeling of the Guard, will eventually run into the Mane 6 during the events of A Canterlot Wedding while posing as one of Celestia's Royal Guards, according to the author.
  • Michael is stated (and somewhat shown) to be this to Ash in Traveler.
    • This later becomes literal: Michael is revealed to be the protagonist of Pokémon XD.
  • Vapors repeatedly shows that during the times they are doing different things, Naruto is continuing to have his own missions and adventures off-screen while Aiko has hers.
  • In Robb Returns, there is a hint that something similar to what is going on beyond the Wall is going in the Grey Wastes and the Dothraki are being "called" East, just as the descendants of the First Men are being called North. And many people are also being pulled to the Isle of Faces, so as to help protect it from the threat of the resurgent Faith Militant.
  • In One Piece Self-Insert Fic This Bites!, it seems that some of the anime filler-arc adventures that this story is skipping over are still happening, just to other crews. For example, Bartolomeo has Apis from the Warship Island arc as a member of his crew. Just about all of the Super Rookies have their own battles during the Straw Hats' assault on Enies Lobby.
  • Pinkie Pie in My Little Animaniacs, who goes on a quest to cure herself and ends up getting possessed by a Body Snatcher somewhere along the way. Also, Chicken Boo, who becomes a famous DJ mixer offscreen.
  • Frisk Dreemurr trails Harry Potter by about two years in Harry Potter and the Underground's Saviour, but still has to deal with repercussions of the main plot, like Neville getting a Howler from his grandmother while already depressed.
  • New Tamaran: During the events of Teen Titans, the Justice League was off-planet to aid in the war effort against Darkseid, while Supergirl and Wonder Girl had their own adventures as a Battle Couple, and Oracle kept tabs on Lex Corp. Also, Static and Shazam are both briefly mentioned as the defenders of Dakota City and Fawcett City respectively.
  • As Lords Among The Ashes is composed of two quests run on separate sites, both Jaune and Ruby are this to each other. While Jaune is conquering the Dark Continent, discovering Lost Technology, and fighting Titans, Ruby is clearing the seas of piracy, becoming an economic superpower, and inventing Mechashift weapons hundreds of years ahead of schedule. Their stories rarely intersect with each other even though they are both rather important.
  • The Guardian is unfolding in the background of Identity Crisis, so the reader gets to see Jason and Dick having a road trip while Bruce is busy investigating a Serial Killer.
  • The Pieces Lie Where They Fell: Literal example with Reel the omake character - he originates from a fanfic that Anon e Mouse Jr. has in development, in which he ended up in an alternate version of Equestria that he now calls home. He now pops into A.R. versions of other universes from time to time.
  • Half Past Adventure: Cash Daniels, P.I. appears to be the hero of her own noir parody that occasionally intersects the main plot.
  • RWBY: Epic of Remnant: Gudako, Angra Mainyu, EMIYA Alter, Lancelot, and Hassan of the Cursed Arm become stranded in the world of Remnant. Though they are unable to contact Chaldea, they have faith that Ritsuka and Mash are still there fighting the good fight in the Singularities.
  • A now excised chapter of Origin Story featured how Power Girl's mind, inside Xander Harris's body, ends up in the Star Trek universe. The writer of the story received literally hundreds of requests for a story featuring that character.
  • In Rising of the Sleeping Soldier, when King Aultcray demands to know who he is when Alucard demands he sends him back, questioning how saving their world from the Waves is treated as trivial to him, Alucard gives a complete and comprehensive rundown as to why.
    Alucard: I am Adrian Fahrenheit Tepés, Known to the Wallachians as Alucard, the sleeping soldier, and defender of humanity. Age 19. My world is already under constant threat from all manner of monsters and demons. They wish to snuff out the entire human race or turn what's left of them after mass slaughter into nothing but slaves. The people have no means to defend themselves as all those who could have fought back have long since passed except for me and my companions. We are the last line of defense for humanity and I know they cannot fight without me as I cannot without them. That is why I cannot fight for you. Without my presence, my world will suffer.
  • The Many Dates of Danny Fenton: Danny's blind dates, each one can become his girlfriend in different timelines, include but not limited to Kim Possible, Supergirl, Violet Parr, Sailor Jupiter and Starfire, all amazing heroines who have adventures and fight evil before being involved with him.

    Films — Animation 
  • At the start of The Incredibles, we see Frozone fighting a villain in a helicopter as the main character Mr. Incredible carries out his own string of heroic deeds.
  • Mater the tow truck, a minor character in Cars who is the star (and Unreliable Narrator) of Mater's Tall Tales in the Pixar Shorts collection.
  • Lilo & Stitch has Cobra Bubbles, the social worker in charge of making sure Nani's fit to take care of Lilo, who is revealed at the end to be a former Men in Black-esque agent, who apparently saved the world at some point. By convincing a bunch of aliens that mosquitoes were an endangered species, no less!
  • Soul has Mr. Mittens, the fat, hapless therapy cat whose body Joe accidentally inhabits. Per Word of God, Mr. Mittens goes through his own adventure as he journeys from the Afterlife Antechamber back down to Earth. By the end of the movie, he has managed to reunite with his body as Joe returns to his own.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Themistocles from 300: Rise of an Empire could be considered a Hero of Another Story for the original film, as, historically speaking, he was defending the waters near Thermopylae while Leonidas led the ground defense. Likewise, Leonidas is mentioned in passing when Themistocles visits Sparta (the infamous "This! Is! Sparta!" scene having taken place just before he got there), and is away consulting the oracle when Themistocles shows up.
  • Harold Grey in Annie (2014), Stacks' rival in the election that drives his actions in the plot, is implied to be a philanthropist and all-around Nice Guy and undoubtedly has his own political campaign going on. Since Stacks dropped out of the election, it can even be assumed that he ultimately won it.
  • The ending to Batman Returns suggests Catwoman will become this. Also counts as a Poorly Disguised Pilot... sorta.
  • Ben-Hur: The title character is a contemporary of Jesus, and their stories periodically intersect.
  • The Big Lebowski, since The Dude's involvement in most of the ongoing plots is tangential, whether the struggle between Maude and the eponymous Big Lebowski over his embezzlement (and Maude's subsequent quest to find a "sperm donor" to get her pregnant), Jackie Treehorn's dispute with Bunny Lebowski (which kickstarts the plot due only to the incompetence of Treehorn's hired thugs), or the private detective's struggle to return "Bunny" to her family back east. Inverting this trope, The Dude is the hero of the story of the bowling league and his team's struggle against "Da Jesus", but we never get to see how that turned out.
  • The Cabin in the Woods takes this to the extreme. The eponymous cabin, the teenagers who visit it, and the zombies hunting them down? That's only one of dozens of other monster attacks happening all over the world on the same night. We only get to see the destructive aftermath for most of these, but we do see a couple of glimpses of some Japanese grade-schoolers being terrorized by a ghost and then turning the ghost into a frog with a magic spell.
  • Cloverfield. The main characters end up lugging a camera about when the monsters attack and naturally start filming the weirdness. On the bridge they see another guy doing the same thing. Word of God says this is a Sequel Hook.
  • Throughout Cop Out, we see an old cop-young cop pairing who appear to be acting out a more routine cop movie off-screen, only bits of which we see.
  • Averted with the soldiers who rob the main characters in Diary of the Dead. We get to see their story in the sequel.
  • In Ed Wood, the eponymous character runs into Orson Welles near the end; he appears to be facing the exact same problems Edward has been facing throughout the actual film, but he appears in only one scene.
  • Bruce Lee may be The Hero of Enter the Dragon, but supporting characters Roper and Williams have their own backstories that are shown via flashbacks, and they all find themselves opposing Han.
  • In Escape from the Planet of the Apes, the intelligent chimpanzee Cornelius tells the story of how, long ago, humans enslaved apes, until an ape named Aldo rose up and lead his people to freedom. However, Cornelius tells this story after having traveled back in time to the 1970s, long before it has actually happened. The next film in the series, Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, shows the enslavement of apes and the ape uprising happening not quite the same as Cornelius had described it, with Aldo reduced to a minor participant (his name never actually spoken in the dialogue) and the revolt lead instead by Caesar, Cornelius and Zira's son (who wouldn't be there if they hadn't traveled back in time). Finally, in Battle for the Planet of the Apes, Aldo appears as a Treacherous Advisor to Caesar, subconsciously resentful of his usurped destiny. So not only is the story where Aldo is the hero never really told in much detail, it's actively erased from the timeline, and the kicker is, none of the characters ever figure this out.
  • The novelization for Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019) shows that while Godzilla and Monarch were attempting to bring down King Ghidorah, on Skull Island, Kong was facing off against a mass awakening of Skullcrawlers released from underground by Ghidorah's call, trying to stop them joining the global devastation. In the film proper, Kong is only briefly mentioned and what he was doing during the events of the story are left unknown.
  • In the original Gremlins, Rockin' Ricky Rialto, the DJ at the town radio station, is heard being swarmed by Gremlins, but somehow survives and is back on the air the following morning.
  • In The Grey Zone, the inmates who work at Crematorium II are also part of the revolt and plan to escape through the wire, but remain off-screen as the story follows the Death Seeker prisoners of crematorium IV.
  • In Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle, Harold and Kumar's neighbors, Goldstein and Rosenberg, are on their own quest for Hot Dog Heaven. Their names are an homage to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, who serve this function in Hamlet.
  • Harriet: In general the abolitionists that help Harriet are fighting against slavery in various ways.
    • William Still is revealed to be a member of the Underground Railroad. A few scenes are devoted to him getting the slaves that Harriet rescued settled with papers and jobs, as well as recording their stories. Those who read up on his life may find the man was amazing.
    • Meanwhile, we get a cameo of Frederick Douglass, another fervent abolitionist. He is carrying on the good fight by spreading awareness of the abuse that slaves suffer, while telling the Anti-Slavery Society that they need to prepare for war.
    • One of the members of the Anti-Slavery Society is a white man with a big bushy beard, who might be John Brown.
    • Thomas Garrett, who harbors Harriet as a conductor on the Underground Railroad when she escapes slavery, was personally responsible for helping 2,700 people escape aside from her ("only" that number, in his words).
  • James Bond films sometimes feature other double-O agents,
    • Goldfinger. 008 never appears, but if M ever tells Bond that if he can't do the mission, someone else will, chances are 008 is that "someone else".
    • Thunderball is the only film where we see all the double-O agents in one place, at M's briefing. When SPECTRE threatens the world with nuclear bombs, M sends all the agents to different parts of the world hoping to find and disarm the bombs. Bond just happens to be the one who finds them.
    • Bill Fairbanks, 002, was killed before the start of The Man with the Golden Gun. The fragments of the bullet that killed him are a Plot Coupon.
    • Octopussy and A View to a Kill start with the deaths of 009 and (off-screen) 003, respectively. Agents other than Bond, with 007 picking up the cases they were working with only the cryptic clues taken off their bodies.
    • In The Living Daylights, 008 is said to "obey orders, not instincts", in contrast with the more headstrong Bond. We see a number of other double-O agents being picked off in a training exercise, which teases the identity of the newly recast Bond.
    • Alec Trevelyn, 006, was apparently killed in the Cold Open of GoldenEye but actually turned against MI6 as part of an elaborate revenge scheme. In other words, it's a subversion: 006 is emphatically not the Hero of Another Story, but the Big Bad of this one.
    • In The World Is Not Enough it is mentioned that 009 was the one who shot the Big Bad prior to the events of the film.
    • Felix Leiter, Bond's ally in the CIA, is almost always in this role, sometimes hints are dropped that his adventures are even more exciting than Bond's. In Licence to Kill, we see that he was tracking down the South American drug lord Franz Sanchez for some time before Bond got involved.
  • In Lavalantula, the main character Colton West randomly runs into Fin Shepard, the hero of the Sharknado films. Fin leaves, saying, "I'd love to help you, but I got shark problems right now."
  • The Lord of the Rings alludes to Bilbo's adventures, as well as adventures made by unseen heroes. See the Literature section for more info.
  • The main plot of Machete Kills features Machete assigned by the President of the United States to stop a missile from being launched at Washington DC. Halfway through the movie, Luther Voz mentions that there are other missiles pointed at different worldwide targets, which Machete warns the President about. In the end, when Machete succeeds in disarming the Washington DC missile, the President says his other agents stopped the other missiles.
  • Discussed in The Man from Earth; John thinks he might have encountered another immortal having his own adventures throughout history. He met and briefly connected with a man in the 16th century, then glimpsed someone who looked just like him passing through a train station 200 years later. He never found out if it was really the same guy or just a case of mistaken identity, and neither does the audience.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • In Iron Man, Agent Phil Coulson mentions, "This isn't my first rodeo" and Nick Fury bluntly states that there are other heroes out there.
    • In The Incredible Hulk, Tony Stark briefly appears at the end, mentioning the same other heroes that Fury told him about.
    • Iron Man 2 has Nick Fury, Black Widow, and a hint of Thor, who are obviously having their own adventures.
    • Thor features Nick Fury, has a cameo by Hawkeye, the aforementioned Agent Coulson, and plenty of Asgardian warriors who have had plenty of adventures off-camera. Tony Stark even gets mentioned in a throwaway line.
    • In Captain America: The First Avenger, Cap works with an entire team of crack soldiers, spies, and even one brave millionaire Science Hero (who's none other than Tony Stark's father) who all have had their own adventures prior to meeting him. Then there is the mentioning of the Tesseract being an artifact from Asgard.
    • In Iron Man 3, the Avengers are mentioned quite a bit, War Machine has his own missions in the Middle East, and The Stinger includes a cameo by Bruce Banner.
    • In Thor: The Dark World, we learn that Asgard has been fighting marauders since the events of the last film, we get a good look at what Thor's grandfather was up to before he was born, the obligatory mentioning of the Avengers, and the Collector from Guardians of the Galaxy shows up in the mid-credits scene.
    • Captain America: The Winter Soldier introduces Sam Wilson, The Falcon, a Retired Badass and a veteran of the War on Terror who used actual wings to fly rescue missions in the Middle East, before coming home and becoming a veterans' counselor. The list of people targeted by Project Insight includes Tony Stark, Bruce Banner, and some fellow named Stephen Strange.
    • Inverted in a Marvel short where we learned what Thor did during the events of Captain America: Civil War: Nothing heroic at all, just hanging out in Australia with average sort'of every-day people.
    • Discussed in Doctor Strange (2016). When Strange asks who the Masters of the Mystic Arts are, Wong tells him: "While heroes like The Avengers protect the world from physical dangers, we sorcerers safeguard it against more mystical threats."
    • In Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Yondu says his old Ravager team consisting of Stakar Ogord, Aleta Ogord, Martinex, Charlie-27, Mainframe, and Krugarr had a lot of adventures like Rocket and the Guardians.
    • Captain Marvel (2019) reveals that Carol Danvers had been active since the '90s, but she has been busy helping the Skrulls find a new home and then having other adventures in space.
    • In Avengers: Endgame, when Carol Danvers shows up to help, Rhodey demands to know where she had been and why she didn't help sooner. Carol points out there are hundreds of worlds that need help just like Earth but don't have Avengers, so those worlds are her responsibility. She later returns to space to help those worlds again and does not return until the final battle with Thanos.
  • Monty Python's Life of Brian has some other guy named Jesus whose story is taking place at the same time and place as the movie, which is occasionally referenced.
  • In The Muppet Movie, at one point during the "Moving Right Along" number, Kermit and Fozzie run into Big Bird hiking along the road, who cheerfully explains to them "I'm on my way to New York City, to try to break into public television."
  • Mystery Road: Despite his creepy demeanor throughout the film, his last scenes imply that Johnno might actually be one, investigating the case from another angle and being implied to have pieces of the puzzle that Jay never finds out for sure.
    • Bobby Rogers was also making progress into the case, before Jay ever showed up, until he turned up dead. The fact that the drug ring considered him a big enough threat to assassinate, while they never try to do the same to Jay and Johnno until the climax, despite how much sniffing around their doing, implies that Bobby was a serious threat to them indeed. The motel clerk even noted that he was there a year ago asking some of the same questions as Jay.
  • In The Natural, the young pitcher who faces off against Hobbs in the final game, and who nearly strikes Hobbs out, is described by the game's radio announcer in the same terms that Hobbs is described at the beginning of the movie. This pitcher is another "Natural", and its clear that, given time, he'll end up being one of the greatest players in the game, just like Hobbs.
  • From Necessary Roughness comes Charlie Bankshe, the only player on the original Armadillos football team not to be banned from playing football for life. The story of how he not only persisted in the sport despite his obvious athletic shortcomings but triumphed by making the winning touchdown at the end of the film's climactic football game, would have made a fine movie in and of itself.
  • An Officer and a Gentleman is the story of Zack Mayo (Richard Gere). Casey Seeger, the only female officer candidate, appears in a few scenes—just enough to declare her intention to be the Navy's first female fighter pilot, show her struggles on the obstacle course, reveal it's really an internal struggle with feeling like "a second-class citizen" and with "daddy's disappointment that she wasn't a boy", let Foley hold her up to the main character as an example of "heart! and character!" and overall give the impression that, if the camera started following her around, there'd be a damn good movie in there.
  • The film version of On the Town ends with the protagonists saying goodbye to the girls they met as they reboard their ship at the end of their one-day shore pass. Then, as the clock strikes 6:00 AM, another group of sailors swarms off the ship to have their own adventures in New York City.
  • Pacific Rim has the Wei Tang triplets and the Kaidanovskys, all of whom have impressive records with defeating Kaiju and defending their assigned Shatterdomes, but are sadly not the biggest heroes of this story. Several movies or books could be made about the other 30+ Humongous Mecha and the very colorful pilots who fought in the Golden Age of the Jaegers.
  • If the timeline presented in The Purge: Election Year is accurate, then the flashback to the death of Charlie Roan's family takes place on the same night as the first film.
  • In Satan's Playground, while Paula is freaking out in the Leeds house, there's a knock on the door. When she answers it, there's a teenage girl there who says her car broke down, and that she needs a telephone. She ends up being scared off by Paula's erratic behavior.
  • Saving Private Ryan casts recognizable actors in small roles to give the impression that they're each the heroes for their own respective stories, which our heroes visit only briefly before moving on.
  • Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, Stephen Stills appears to be starring in his own movie, where Scott is just some weird guy who flakes out on the band and messes up their shows. Director Edgar Wright has stated that he instructed Stills' actor to pretend that the movie he's in is called Stephen Stills Is Almost Famous. This is something from the comics where Scott very much believes that he is the hero of the story and the Aesop, if there was one, was "Life does not work that way." This is further fleshed out in the comic, where Stephen has an entire background arc in which he comes out as gay but decides not to tell Scott about it until the end, because it looks like he has enough on his plate already.
  • The Shape of Water is an exploration of the Values Dissonance in a lot of old monster movies, and therefore, its villain, Col. Richard Strickland, comes across as a dark parody of the heroes in those sorts of movies, with specific callbacks to John Agar in Revenge of the Creature. Guillermo del Toro has said that if the movie were made in the time period it's set in, Strickland would very likely be the hero.
  • In Sharknado: The 4th Awakens, Colton West loans the heroes a car. When Fin Shepard asks why he's all beaten up and dirty, he says he had just dealt with a massive spider infestation, which is covered in 2 Lava 2 Lantula.
  • Jessica Stevenson's team in Shaun of the Dead appear to take part in a much more heroic adventure, ultimately joining up with the army and leading The Cavalry to defeat the zombies. However, we only see a brief glimpse of them as the plot follows Shaun's trip to the pub.
  • Frankie and her group from Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow.
  • Stake Land: All over the place. The people in all the other lockdowns and compounds are the biggest examples, all resisting the vampires and the Brotherhood with a Reasonable Authority Figure who deal with Mister and Martin. They likely had to go through something akin to Jericho only with vampires instead of nuclear war aftermath. Party members Peggy, Willie, and Sister had their own adventures before joining up with the main cast.
  • In his review of Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, Roger Ebert describes this trope in action:
    Another irritation is the way in which we meet apparently major characters [...] who are introduced with fanfares of dialogue and then never developed or given anything to do. The entire movie seems crowded with loose ends, overlooked developments, and forgotten characters, and there are little snatches of dialogue where some of these minor characters seem to be soldiering on in their original subplots as if unaware that they've been cut from the movie.
  • Star Wars:
    • In the original trilogy, Wedge Antilles is an Ace Pilot and friend of Luke who nevertheless has very little to do with the main plot and is generally a pretty minor character. Naturally, he was given plenty of stories of his own in both incarnations of the Expanded Universe.
    • Rogue One ends with all of its heroes dead, but with the Death Star plans - for which they fought and died - passed to Princess Leia, one of the main characters of the original trilogy.
  • The hitchhiker from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003). An off-screen escapee of The Hewitts', she makes her escape at the start of the film. We don't get to hear much of her story, however, as she decides to blow her brains out when her rescuers accidentally lead her right back to them.
  • In What's Your Number? Chris Pratt's character Donald seems to be starring in another movie where a guy keeps running into his crazy ex in the run-up to his wedding.

  • Lone Wolf:
    • Banedon the wizard pops up to help the main character at several points in the series and gains power and prestige at the same rate as Lone Wolf. He's a more prominent character in the Legend of Lone Wolf novelizations.
    • In the Mongoose Publishing remakes, each book has a 100-page mini-story about one of the characters who shaped the plot of that book, either taking place before or after said book. One character, the Noble Zombie Dire from Captives of Kaag, is also the mini-story character in The Legacy of Vashna and Wolf's Bane.
    • Grey Star the Wizard had his own adventure saving Southern Magnamund (Lone Wolf's adventures mostly take place in Northern Magnamund).
  • In the Choose Your Own Adventure books by Edward Packard, one gets the impression that recurring guest character Dr. Nera Vivaldi doesn't just show up only in adventures that happen to involve you.
  • The Fighting Fantasy book The Crimson Tide tells the story of a child who was orphaned in the war that drives the plot of Black Vein Prophecy.


By Author

  • Happens frequently in books by Stephen King, particularly the ones where there are Loads and Loads of Characters. For instance, Sue and the other women that Stu and his group saved from the rape gang, or Dayna Jurgens, from The Stand. Any of the side stories in The Shining, or the stories about the town in IT would also be interesting.
  • Matthew Reilly:
    • Many of the people targeted by The Conspiracy in Scarecrow.
      • Israeli soldier Simon Zemir has spent a lot of time training to stop the villains and working out their plans on his own, showing up out of nowhere during the finale and nearly managing to stop the Evil Plan by himself.
      • British spy Alec Christie and Mossad agent Benjamin Rosenthal spent a lot of time undercover, independently spying on the Big Bad.
      • CIA agent Damien Polanski stole all kinds of documents from the Soviets and aided various cold war defectors before becoming a Broken Ace.
      • General Weitzman foresaw the possibility of the country's missile system being compromised and pushed through a program to test soldiers for their ability to manually take control of the missiles while they were in mid-flight.
    • Both Trent in the first Shane Schofield book and Knight in the third have had long, cat and mouse games with ICG killers which remain largely off-screen.
  • J. R. R. Tolkien did this several times in his Middle-earth stories. He was creating a mythology, and he knew that mythologies are never perfect records, and there are always gaps which leave tantalizing hints of other stories. Some examples:
    • In The Hobbit, while he's certainly involved in the main plot, Gandalf spends much of the novel attending to other matters, which turn out to be destroying the Mirkwood stronghold of the Necromancer, otherwise known as Sauron.
    • In The Lord of the Rings, there are hints of adventures that the other members of the Fellowship had before meeting the hobbits at Rivendell, such as Aragorn's capture of Gollum, or Gandalf's escape from the Ringwraiths. At one point, Sam wonders if Gollum thinks he's the hero of his own story.
    • Both stories focus on the exploits of Gandalf, who is only one of five wizards who were sent into the world by the Powers That Be, each with missions of great importance to all of Middle-earth. Little is known of what Saruman did before he became evil, and Radagast is only mentioned fleetingly. The other two wizards, Alatar and Pallando, are not even named in the main story but it is mentioned elsewhere that their actions in the East were crucial in weakening Sauron's forces.
    • There's also the battles at Lothlórien and Dale, which are briefly mentioned and correspond closely with the battles at Minas Tirith. The latter one beneath the Lonely Mountain is stated to be the largest one of them all because of its close proximity to Sauron's Easterling forces.
    • Overall, the entire northern arm of the War of the Ring is only briefly described in the books, despite its importance in diverting a very large portion of Sauron's strength from Lórien, Rivendell, and Gondor. The Men of Dale and the Dwarves of the Lonely Mountain gave their southern allies the time that they needed to fight off Sauron's primary forces and destroy the One Ring. * 100 Cupboards: The first book describes how only two people on Earth (neither of whom actually appears in the series) would recognize a piece of wood from another dimension. One lives in a bad part of Orlando, Florida and "very much wanted to believe that most of his childhood had not actually happened." The other is the widow of a French WWI soldier whose husband came home "with some very strange stories and a small sapling in a tin cup," having been given that unique tree as a gift by someone from that dimension.

By Work

  • 2666: Lola Amalfitano’s exploits abroad serve as a counterpoint to Oscar’s story.
  • Possible Ur-Example: many warriors — particularly Trojan ones — of the Trojan Cycle are only fleetingly mentioned, and could well have had other adventures before or after the war. Vergil took a brief appearance by the Trojan Aeneas as free rein to cast him as literally the hero of another story: The Aeneid.
  • Not dissimilarly, a number of well-known characters from the Arthurian cycle - Percivale, Tristram, Merlin and quite possibly Lancelot - appear to have started out as the heroes of stories of their own that were gradually absorbed into Arthur's.
  • A to Z Mysteries: In The Ninth Nugget, Thumbs is implied to have lost his thumb in a bear attack that he walked away from otherwise unscratched, but no details are given.
  • Another Note's Beyond Birthday. Except he's more properly the villain of another story. His case was mentioned briefly in Death Note.
  • Discussed and lampshaded in one of the Aubrey-Maturin books by Stephen Maturin and Jagiello, right after Jagiello loses his grip on a ship's mast, narrowly avoids the deck, plunges into the sea, and is pulled out roaring with laughter: in a bit of metafictional humor, Jagiello jokingly says that the hero of the story never dies in such a unspectacular fashion, and that he considers himself to be the hero of his own story.
  • Avalon: Web of Magic's main plot is about the forces of darkness trying to conquer all the worlds and corrupt their inhabitants. However, our protagonists run a refugee camp on Earth, so the narrative is centered there.
    • Zach is the last human on Aldenmor and an orphan raised by a mistwolf pack, which he was later exiled from. Although embittered by this, he remains committed to fighting the Sorceress with the help of his bonded dragon. We know this because he was the deuteragonist of one book and played only bit parts in the others.
    • Lorelei is one of the web's unicorn protectors and a teacher at Dalriada Academy. She shows up in the fourth book so Emily can heal the trauma of having her horn cut off, helps Emily to defeat a siren, and then...basically goes off to do her own thing.
  • At the end of Beowulf, there's a passing-of-the-torch moment between the title character and the young warrior Wiglaf after they kill a dragon together, and Beowulf lies dying of his wounds. It's implied that Wiglaf would go on his own grand adventures, but if anyone ever chronicled them, that poem has been lost.
  • The William Johnstone novel Brotherhood of the Gun. After the heroes win a shootout a local deputy named Lars shows up, having heard the gunfire as he returned from pursuing a pair of cattle rustlers. When it's commented that the local undertaker has six new bodies to bury, Lars says it's eight bodies, as he caught up to the rustlers and brought them back draped over their saddles.
  • In Castle Hangnail, two of the castle's minions are a talking goldfish and an animate voodoo doll named Pins. The goldfish reflects on Pins's heroic journey crossing the desert and fighting monsters, all carrying the goldfish in a plastic bag. The narrator observes that it shows that minor characters can also have been heroes.
  • In The Chronicles of Narnia, where the protagonists from our world might be The Only One for the brief time they are there, but Narnia exists for thousands of years without them and is said to have many adventures and heroes of its own that we never hear of (as well as many times where nothing exciting at all is happening). The (adult) Pevensie children become this in The Horse and His Boy and Shasta is this to them (his being the story we get to see).
  • In Ciaphas Cain (HERO OF THE IMPERIUM):
    • Amberly Vail clearly has lots of adventures fighting enemies of the Imperium in between those times when her path crosses with Cain's. Her footnotes occasionally make references to these.
    • In stories when Cain is serving with the 597th Valhallan it's also usually mentioned that there are several other regiments on the same planet (most notably "Duty Calls", where he notices a young Commissar who shows enough signs of competence that he wonders how he did later on).
    • Several minor characters wrote similar memoirs to Cain (that is similar to his "official" memoirs, not the candid ones that the stories consist of). Most notably Sulla (who's only a Lieutenant/Captain at the time of the books, but is Lady General by the time she wrote them). Other examples include the Medic (who was essentially a fictionalised James Herriot) from "Death or Glory" and Sgt. Tyber, who went on to write a book about the events of the same.
  • Colin Lamb from Agatha Christie's The Clocks. Even though he's the (partial) narrator of the novel, whose written accounts of the murder investigation helped Hercule Poirot reach the solution of the mystery, Colin himself contribute nothing to the investigation, as he's more concerned with his duties as a British Secret Service Agent.
  • Two of colleagues of the anti-kidnapping expert protagonist in The Danger (by Dick Francis) are in South America, negotiating for the release of an oil executive whose kidnapping they believe was an inside job. It's never revealed who was behind that kidnapping or whether they get the executive back safely.
  • In the Daniel Faust series, FBI Special Agent Harmony Black is basically a classic urban fantasy heroine, veteran of many past adventures, squaring off against some evil bastards. Too bad for her, this series is about the evil bastards.
  • Famously discussed in the opening lines to David Copperfield.
    "Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show."
  • Dortmunder: In The Road to Ruin, Kelp buys a fake ID that previously belonged to a man named Harbin before he moved onto another alias. Very little is revealed about Harbin, but he is on the run from a European dictatorship and is one of the few people ever to escape their main assassin.
  • In the Dragonriders of Pern series, Menolly and Piemur are literally this; as well as appearing here and there in the books, they have their own trilogy that runs concurrently with the first three books. This in turn causes major characters from the first few books who appear in the Harper Hall books to themselves be heroes of another story.
  • Any named character from The Dresden Files. Special credit goes to:
    • Carlos Ramirez, professional badass and Harry's best friend on the Wardens. The regional commander of the Wardens on the West Coast, he gets into almost as much trouble as Harry.
    • Michael Carpenter's exploits against the Denarians could make a fantastic series on their own.
    • Sanya. As of Small Favor, he is the only active Knight of the Cross, which means that he is single-handedly patrolling the world and putting down various supernatural threats. This is a normally a job for three people, but, as Harry notes, he seems to be handling it with aplomb.
    • Morgan. Come on, we get to hear the stories about how he nuked a shapeshifting demi-god of pure evil, and cut his way through the entire Red Court, fully intent on dueling a being that has Odin matched for metaphysical muscle.
    • Karrin Murphy, and the rest of S.I. After the first few books Harry mentions that S.I. has gotten good enough at handling minor supernatural threats that they don't call him in as much.
    • The Alphas. College kids turned werewolves, dealing with the troubles of young adulthood by day, wolf-shaped vigilantes by night.
    • John Marcone counts as well. The short story "Even Hand" is told from his perspective, and lays ground for potential future narratives. "Aftermath" informs us that, since the death of Harry Dresden, Marcone and his people have repelled several attempts by the Fomor and other bad guys to infiltrate the city.
    • Thomas Raith, Harry's half brother provides vital back up on a number of occasions, but we eventually find that he's a member of the Venatori, and has been fighting the Oblivion War off and on for years.
    • Elaine Mallory, who starts up a similar Wizard for Hire business in Los Angeles.
    • Molly Carpenter, Harry's apprentice, whose Coming-of-Age Story is going on in the background. After she takes on more responsibilities it's implied her adventures get even stranger and more dangerous.
  • The Elder Empire: The whole point of splitting the universe into two parallel stories. Of Sea and Shadow is about Calder Martin, Captain of the Navigator's Guild, trying to raise up a new God-Emperor after the old one died, in order to help unite humanity and protect the species from the predations of the Elders; he is opposed by anarchic assassins who want to see the thousand-year Empire fractured since it will be more profitable for them. Of Shadow and Sea is about Shera, Gardener of the Consultant's Guild, trying to stop a Great Elder from resurrecting herself and destroying humanity, and to keep the Empire split so that humanity does not have a single point of failure in a God-Emperor; she is opposed by insane cultists and tyrants who think they can handle the power themselves.
  • Bean, from Ender's Game, was made the "hero" of Ender's Shadow, though it's technically the same story from a different perspective. There are also further novels (known as the Shadow saga) focused on other characters from the original story.
  • The Exile's Violin: Serge went on many adventures with Jacquie's father and one of them involved finding treasure that is relevant to the main plot; the key that unlocks the chest containing the Exile's violin. He made a lot of friends that look down on Jacquie for lacking his experience.
  • This is discussed in Fifth Business. Dunstan Ramsay isn't even the hero of his own story; instead, he (according to Liesl) is destined to be the vital supporting character to everyone else. Strictly speaking, the hero of the story is the successful, handsome Boy Staunton, but the narration only checks in on him now and again.
  • In For Whom the Bell Tolls, the partisan leader El Sordo appears to be the best in the area, with many exciting battles under his belt. But the narration focuses on Pablo's band, and we only see Sordo in one conversation scene and one combat scene.
  • The Warhammer 40,000: Gaunt's Ghosts novels make extensive use of other Imperial Guard regiments fighting alongside or in the same area as the Ghosts, with the commanders typically being named, likable individuals. Watch out, though, for the other commanders ever getting character development. If they do, bastardry will ensue at some point during the book.
  • In 2013 novel The Gods of Guilt, protagonist Mickey Haller has a brief encounter with his brother Harry Bosch in court; Harry says he's working on "a cold case from 'ninety-four." This is a reference to Harry Bosch short story "Switchblade", which was published the following year.
  • There are so many characters in Harry Potter that would make good protagonists:
    • Nymphadora Tonks. She's probably just slumming in this series; surely she is off having awesome Auror adventures at other times.
    • Snape is of particular notability, in that he is so deeply involved with the story that Word of God confirms that the books are just as much his story as Harry's. Appropriately, Harry's younger son is named after him.
    • Nicolas Flamel probably would have a pretty interesting story to tell, considering that he lived for more than 650 years.
    • Neville is an interesting case, because it could have been his story had Voldemort made different choices. As it stands, there's an entire alternate Power Trio in Deathly Hallows (Neville, Luna and Ginny) with enough stories to take up an entire novel.
    • The previous generation characters (Lily, Snape and the Marauders) had more than enough high drama to support their own series. Plus, the epilogue gives us the tantalizing hint of a whole new generation headed for Hogwarts. It's not surprising that novel-length Marauder-era and next-generation fanfics are so common.
    • The Order of the Phoenix, a resistance group that fights Voldemort. Both the past Order (which disbanded before the beginning of the series) and the present incarnation are alluded to having many off-screen adventures that we never hear about. The past Order in particular could easily have its own book series.
    • Albus Dumbledore was apparently the Harry Potter of his day — his most famous feat was his defeat of the previous Dark Lord before Voldemort, Predecessor Villain Gellert Grindelwald, in what is regarded as the greatest Wizard Duel in history. Grindelwald also happened to be his Evil Former Friend, First Love, and (since Dumbledore swore off love after him) the love of his life. Deathly Hallows briefly touches on his past, and the Fantastic Beasts films will cover his conflicts with Grindelwald.
    • Newt Scamander only gets name dropped once or twice as the author of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, one of Harry's First Year text books. He's described briefly in the prologue when said book was published in real life, but otherwise he's barely elaborated as a character. Years later, Newt is given his own story in a series of films named after his book, having all sorts of adventures involving several of the creatures featured in the Fantastic Beasts book, some 70 years before the events of the main series. Oh, and it turns out he had several run-ins with Grindelwald.
  • Honor Harrington:
    • Admiral Hamish Alexander, Earl of White Haven, is already an admiral when the series begins, and thus spends most of his time commanding large fleet actions that are analyzed in exhaustive detail by the main characters after the event. Probably the first notable instance of this is the Third Battle of Yeltsin, a spectacular Manticoran victory that was critical to the opening phases of the war — which we never see.
    • In Echoes of Honor several prisoners have spent years hiding in the bush after faking their deaths while receiving assistance from some of the prisoners who remained behind. After the prison revolt, they spend a lot of time capturing (or lynching) fugitive members of the State Sec garrison, relying on the years they spent learning the island's hiding places. They feel like they could have had their own book, but only get mentioned over about two pages.
  • Since The Hunger Games are told entirely from Katniss's point of view, there's a lot of details and stories we miss out on because she is unaware of what's happening.
    • Thresh and Foxface throughout the first novel are off having adventures completely separate from Katniss. Foxface and Katniss unknowingly cross each others paths a couple of times but Katniss only runs into Thresh once during the games. Thresh is also apparently off having a major battle with Cato for several days while Katniss and Peeta are in the cave.
    • In the first half of the first book, Peeta could be considered this as he has some agenda and his own adventures with the Career Tributes. We find out about some of these actions later after he has revealed his true colors.
    • The Avox Girl, who apparently had an entire adventure before she ever crossed paths with Katniss.
    • Bonnie and Twill. Katniss hears the first half of their story but is left wondering what happened to them.
    • We also never find out what the rebel movement was up to before Katniss came on the scene (it's way too big and organized to just be a reaction to one defiant act), or how Finnick, Johanna, Beatee, etc all joined it and their stories.
    • Nor do we see Gale evacuate what remains of District 12 after they are bombed. He is considered by many a literal hero.
  • In the Hyperion Cantos, Rachel Weintraub, who we see travel to the far future at the end of Fall of Hyperion, and then learn that she later returns to a (slightly less distant) the future. Just read the books.
  • Roran Stronghammer of the Inheritance Cycle is an example. He's technically a point of view character, but over the course of Brisingr he slaughters nearly one hundred men from atop an ever-growing mountain of their shattered corpses, is summarily beaten to within an inch of his life for disobeying orders, immediately goes out and wrestles an Urgal chieftan into submission, and leads his new troops to several important victories over The Empire. And everyone completely forgets about him once Eragon gets back from his vacation, to the point that he isn't even mentioned during the Final Battle.
    • Saphira gives a blessing of sorts to an infant girl, later informing Eragon that the girl won't have an ordinary life after receiving it, and that what he just witnessed was the beginning of a whole new legend. And then it turns out that they screwed up and cursed her to suffer other people's problems. After they find out, they try to remove the curse, but only partially remove it, resulting in someone who is aware of other people's problems, but is not inclined to help. It's implied that she is now on a path to become a villain.
    • An even more blatant example comes in Brisingr, when Angela asks Eragon to bless a mother and daughter whose fortunes she had just read. She even lampshades this later by refusing to tell Eragon anything about the two, and they only have one more brief appearance in the final battle in Inheritance.
  • Robin Hood as "Locksley" in Ivanhoe. One could argue that it led to the Legend of Robin Hood actually being a popular thing; like an ancient spinoff.
  • Journey to Chaos:
    • Many members of the Dragon's Lair were hired to take part in the Starvation War. It took place pre-series and was fought between Latrot and Mithra. As part of his recovery from mana mutation and monsanity Eric watches videos of a couple of their adventures.
    • During the course of A Mage's Power Sathel Aranid bodyguarded Abbott Tolis from Our Lady of Perpetual Mischief abbey and thwarted several attempts on his life. Between that book and Looming Shadow she hunted soulcrafters in Najica with her husband, Retina.
    • Due to a reoccurring case of Random Teleportation, Annala becomes one of these in Transcending Limitations. Order speaks of how she is "bouncing around Noitearc thwarting the plans of his other principal servants". She herself will make off-hand reference to her off-screen adventures whenever she pops into the main narrative.
  • In two of the early stories from Larry Niven's Known Space series ("There is a Tide" and "Flatlander"), a Terran cop named Sigmund Ausfaller shows up as a minor recurring character, but its implied that this guy is an even more competent adventurer than Schaeffer is. We'd have to wait for nearly forty years before Niven would co-author a trio of novels featuring Ausfaller as the hero... and it turns out he's absolutely more competent than Schaeffer was.
  • Inspector Javert from Les Misérables is off stopping real criminals when he's not trying to arrest Jean Valjean.
  • The first Lorien Legacies book mentions a man in Columbus, Ohio, who captures a Mog scout and tortures him into revealing the Mogs' plan to hunt down the Garde. Upon getting that information, the man known only as the mysterious caller alerts a conspiracy magazine about it before disappearing from the story.
  • A literal example in Moon Rising; Moon only learns about her mentor's Dark and Troubled Past when she reads about it in a history book. Thousands of years ago, Darkstalker was an incredibly powerful animus dragon who was (supposedly) executed by his lover and best friend when they felt he could no longer be trusted. However, Darkstalker was not killed- simply bespelled to sleep eternally. A spell which broke eventually.
  • The Neverending Story lives off this literally. It is maintained by dreams and stories and everyone has one. To quote the narrator time and again throughout the novel, “But that is another story and shall be told another time.” Specific examples include:
    • Pyornrachzark, Blubb, Vooshvazool, and Gluckuk, the heralds that travel to warn of the Nothing early on in the novel. We lose track of them, but presumably they all go on to, at least, make the journey back home.
    • Hynreck, the disgraced hero who left on his own while his comrades followed Bastian, went after a monster who kidnapped his love interest, and won, but we're spared the details and what happens next.
    • Yikka, a mule who served as Bastian's mount for a while, is not exactly an example, but after being granted fertility and a faithful encounter with a pegasus stallion by Bastian, she has a son called Patalplan, a half-mule, half pegasus hybrid that is himself an example, as he reportedly had many peculiar adventures.
    • And then we have The City of Old Emperors, where every single inhabitant is this. Or rather, was. The City is the final destination of every single human visitor to Fantastica who failed/refused to go back to the real world. They all inevitably attempted to replace the Childlike Empress, bringing chaos and war to Fantastica before eventually wasting away all of their memories of the real world by abusing Auryn. Once they lost all memories, they became blank husks of the people they were and ended up in the City.
    • If Hykrion the Strong is to be believed, one of the many visitors to Fantastica from the real world was William Shakespeare himself.
    • The biggest one is Atreyu, because after Balthasar is told that he can't leave Fantastica until all the stories he set in motion are finished, Atreyu volunteers to finish all those stories in his place so Balthasar can go home.
  • In the final stage of the Nibelungenlied, the last survivors of the besieged Burgundians are at last taken out by the retinue of the Gothic king Dietrich of Bern (not Bern in Switzerland, but Verona in Italy). Dietrich, the mythical version of king Theoderic the Great, and his followers Hildebrand et al. literally are the heroes of a whole different cycle of legends and stories, so the decision to bring him in not only was an early example of a "cross-over", but also served to enhance the standing of Gunther and Hagen.
  • Pact stars Blake and Rose Thorburn, the same person born as different genders, who inherit their familial heritage of property, books on demon-summoning, and the karmic debt of seven lifetimes worth of monstrous deeds. Early on they meet Maggie Holt, a teenaged goblin binder who's dealing with a prophecy that demands she experience three rounds of "blood and darkness and fire" in return for her family's lives. Though they occasionally assist one another, Maggie feels compelled to deal with her problems her own way-after helping the Thorburns defeat the Incarnation of Conquest, she remarks that being the side character isn't really her thing.
  • Percy Jackson and the Olympians:
    • Thalia and Nico start out as side characters, but head off in their own direction after a while. They come back occasionally, and as they are demigods (and children of the other two-thirds of the "Big Three") no matter what, they often hint at their own ripe share of brushes with death. Nico even gets kidnapped off-screen in what we presume to be an epic and never-to-be-known quest.
    • Retroactively, Jason Grace. We know that while Percy was fighting Kronos, he was fighting the Titan Krios, and that he's been on quite a few quests— enough for him to start rehabilitating the reputation of the Fifth Cohort and be elected praetor. After he regains his memory, Riordan sprinkles in little references (such as going to Charleston with Reyna and having some kind of experience with the dead of the Civil War), but fleshes nothing out.
  • The Saga of Grettir the Strong:
    • The life of the outlaw Hallmund is apparently quite a story not unlike that of Grettir himself. When Hallmund lies dying, he recites a poem commemorating his adventures, and "many exploits of his did Hallmund recount in the lay, for he had been in every land." Only a short piece of it is given, but it hints at a most extraordinary tale:
      The giant-kind and the grim rock-dwellers,
      demons and blendings fell before me,
      elves and devils have felt my hand.
    • The outlaw Grim who kills Hallmund goes on to become a famous adventurer himself: "Grim became a great traveller and there is a long saga about him."
  • In Second Stage Lensmen, Nadreck of Palain VII. He goes on a solo mission to destroy an enemy base that no one has been able to touch. He does so by inciting the locals into a civil war. However, despite great urging, he absolutely refuses to tell anyone how he did it, because in his eyes the mission was an unmitigated disaster. His shame comes from the fact that he comes from a race of cowards, and he was forced at one point to kill three people directly to complete his mission, rather than causing them to kill each other. To make the point clearer, these people included the highest-ranking enemies at the base, and in a society where Authority Equals Asskicking is taken to the extreme that means he had to personally fight the hardest targets.
  • In The Secrets of Drearcliff Grange School, there are occasional reminders during the earlier parts of the book that the school has plenty of students and exciting events apart from Amy and her friends and their adventures. (Less so after the main plot kicks in and the school gets taken over as part of an Assimilation Plot, because then everything happening at the school becomes part of a single story.) There's also the case of Enid ffolliott, who dramatically appears in time to save Amy from a peril after being missing for two years; it's strongly suggested that what she was doing during those two years was adventurous and possibly world-saving, although we don't get many details.
  • Shadow Children: Mr. Talbot is a high ranking government agent who secretly leads some sort of organized resistance, and usually helps out the kids. Another revolutionary shows up repeatedly to aid the heroes in book 5 and 6 rescuing them in the former and executing a gambit in the latter. We don't know what his name is, but he goes by Nedley and later Mike, and is implied to be working behind the scenes as a government officer.
  • A meta example of this happens in Gregory Frost's Shadowbridge duology. The protagonist Leodora is collecting stories from all over the spans of Shadowbridge. While talking to a sailor she learns of a new story that's spreading for months from the southern spans where she had traveled from. Referring to it as the Navigator's Tale, it's a morality story warning of a wicked whore who had broken many taboos on the island she's from - including riding one of the island's sacred krakens while nude. She tries to leave the island, but the kraken brings her back where the islanders stone her and the kraken and then they drown her in its ink as a purity rite. Leodora is horrified by this tale and vows never to perform it. The story is a combination of what happened that led to the fleeing of Leodora and years earlier - her mother Leonara, that's been corrupted by her uncle's sick fantasies and had some details altered. Leodora sadly notes that now she's become a character in a tale, just like the ones she tells.
  • The eight and ninth Erast Fandorin novels, She Lover of Death and He Lover of Death, are two completely separate mysteries being investigated by Fandorin in Moscow at the same time. Each book contains a few passing references to Fandorin's other case.
  • Sir Apropos of Nothing seems to be beset with many, many heroes of other stories. Whenever they try to regale him with their adventures, however, he always cuts them off...because he abhors such stories.
  • Due to series Loads and Loads of Characters, A Song of Ice and Fire is full to the brim with these. Special mention should go to King Stannis (who survived a siege, later described as "They were down to rats and beets, horses and dogs have been eaten long ago"), Dolorous Edd (just about anything he says, but highlights include finding a dead brother of the Night Watch floating in the barrel of wine and being attacked by a bear!), Maester Aemon (the man was 102 years old when he died and has lived through most of the history known to main characters), Aegon the Fifth (A hero from Tales of Dunk and Egg, long dead in main novels), Barristan The Bold, Tormund Giantsbane, Theon's friend Cleftjaw, Mance Rayder and Lord Bloodraven... This list goes on and on.
  • Dahlia Lynley-Chivers only appears once in The Sookie Stackhouse Mysteries in the book All Together Dead as a one of the vampire summit judges, but she's the main star of the various short stories and novellas that expand the supernatural universe of the books, often investigating threats to her vampire nest.
  • Hawk between Spenser novels.
  • In the Star Trek Novel Verse, each series could be considered this to the other ones. However, Star Trek: New Frontier really plays this role. Because Peter David has sole control over New Frontier, any major events that the Excalibur cannot somehow be excused from, such as Star Trek: Destiny, are told through Broad Strokes by the other authors. Whether we actually get to read those stories depends on whether Peter David wants to write them.
    • Two Diane Carey novels, Dreadnaught and Battlestations, are something of Lower Deck Episodes in regards to the series. The main characters are younger Expys of the main Star Trek characters. While they do perform acts to further the plot, when they cross paths with Kirk and company, it's clear for every thing the youngsters have done, the senior officers have done 5 or 6.
  • In the Star Trek: Mere Anarchy series, the fourth tale attempts to give the impression that Starfleet captains across the board have noteworthy adventures, avoiding the implications that Kirk is the guy to which everything interesting happens. When Kirk mentions he was present at a particular event, the captain he's talking too responds with a casual "oh yeah, that was you", and it's mentioned that this captain was off having his own adventure at the time.
  • In the Star Wars Legends (outside of the X-Wing Series, where he is The Hero), Wedge Antilles tends to be this. He's rarely in focus, but almost always there. In the X-Wing Series, Luke, Leia, and Han Solo are the Heroes of Another Story.* Piranesi is an Ontological Mystery with an Amnesiac Hero, but late in the story he encounters policewoman Sarah Raphael, who helps him escape his situation. When she explains how she came to be there, it becomes clear that from her point of view, this has been a slightly more straightforward supernatural mystery, and her success in solving it is impressive. One of her colleagues later describes another problem she dealt with, and clearly regards her with admiration.
  • The Stormlight Archive: Several. Hoid is a hero to the Cosmere as a whole (if not the Big Good), but his goals on Roshar only rarely intersect with everyone else. The interludes introduce a number of new characters who are running around on their own adventures, a few of whom are in the process of becoming Surgebinders. And of course, at the end of the second book Jasnah comes back, having escaped the ambush on the Wind's Pleasure by teleporting into Shadesmar, where she has been adventuring for months.
  • In the Tairen Soul universe, fey compare fate to a musical concert. There are consecutive Dances, whole eras of time (The Chosen Ones are said to lead a Dance). Every Dance consists of smaller Songs and Harmonies; when The Hero sees that a human nobleman owns a Legendary Weapon, he theorizes that the guy is marked out to lead one of the former.
  • Trash of the Count's Family has a unique example in Choi Han; he's the protagonist of the story-within-the-story The Birth of a Hero. However, the protagonist of this story is Cale, who reincarnates into the world of ''The Birth of a Hero''. Choi Han remains a main character, however.
  • True Grit: By-the-Book Cop LT Quinn and Scarily Competent Tracker William Waters are unseen marshals suggested as other candidates who could help Mattie chase Tom Chaney.
  • Mikhail Tanner and his quest to locate and mercy kill his beloved Sonya Karp after she turned Strigoi in Vampire Academy. The quest is briefly mentioned but never fully described.
  • In Warrior Cats, there are several times when characters other than the heroes are off on their own quests to save the Clans. There are several such as Yellowfang, who in the first book was organizing a resistance against Brokenstar; Stormfur, who was helping the Tribe become strong enough to defeat the Mountain Invaders; Tigerheart, who spied on the Dark Forest so that he could protect the Clans; and even Jingo, a cat trying to protect her band of former kittypets after their lives were ruined by Sol.
  • In The Wee Free Men, the second Discworld YA novel but the first to be integrated into the adult novels' chronology, Miss Tick spends most of the novel off-page, seeking out Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg and convincing them to return to the Wold with her in order to begin Tiffany's training.
  • An unusual example in that the character in question is actually a key villain of the main story: Demandred in The Wheel of Time makes references to having had a series of adventures on the other side of the world in which he fulfilled a set of prophecies parallel to those of the Dragon Reborn ultimately leading him to become the ruler and Dark Messiah of The Empire of Shara. Word of God even notes that Demandred was essentially the hero of his own parallel version of The Wheel of Time that the reader just barely gets to glimpse.
  • Wrath of the Lemming Men has General Sir Florence Young (sic), who at the conclusion of the book is being knighted for winning a critical battle which (from the central characters' perspective) was fought completely off-stage.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Stargate SG-1:
    • This trope used to be named after Colonel Makepeace, the leader of SG-3. Makepeace was even briefly put in charge of SG-1 after O'Neill's 10-Minute Retirement as the highest-ranking officer in SG teams — right before he was exposed as The Mole. The new leader of SG-3, Colonel Reynolds, picked up the trope after that, and held it longer than Makepeace ever did. Colonel Makepeace gets a moment when he leads an assault team composed of half a dozen SG teams to rescue SG-1 from Hathor. Of course he fails, the rescuers being rescued in turn by Bra'tac, Teal'c, and General Hammond (in one of his rare off-world trips).
    • You could say this is true for all of the other SG teams who are off on their own assignments, which sometimes include assisting SG-1. In the two-part episode "Heroes", SG-13 is shown off on a mission of their own.
    • Speaking of Bra'tac, as a leader in the Jaffa Rebellion, he can also qualify as this, as can other rebel leaders such as Ishtar.
  • Stargate Atlantis:
    • The spinoff also features such a character, Major Lorne. Sheppard, Rodney, Teyla, and Ford (later Ronon) are the "main" Atlantis team that we follow most of the time. Meanwhile, Lorne and his crew are busy with their own missions on other planets that we rarely get to see, only showing up occasionally when he is needed as support for the main characters.
    • The cast of SG-1 is actually sometimes this for SGA. It's understood that they're still doing big important things that we just don't see. (Especially while their show was actually still going on. There'd often be references to the SG-1 plot — nothing too detailed, but... y'know, just in case you forgot that the Ori and Baal are bad.)
  • Stargate Universe:
    • Also showed up in this show more than once; in the first episode, we see a number of starships (one of which is being captained by Samantha Carter of SG-1), who then slide out of focus as the main plot kicks into gear. They're alluded to a few times afterwards, and a few episodes in the second season involve characters from the previous two series working to get SGU's cast home.
    • The alternate crew created by a time travel incident, thought to have been killed, actually landed on a planet a thousand years in the past. They were just as much "them" as the crew that remained on the ship (of whom they were unaware), and although they didn't know they'd traveled back in time, Eli theorized it was possible that they had. The "real" crew go to see their alternate lives play out in "episodes" captured by the Kinos. Had the show gone onto a third season, it's likely that their descendants would have weaved in and out of the main story.
  • On Once Upon a Time most characters are quite literally heroes from another story as we often encounter various fairytale and mythical figures from widely known tales, even DISNEY films. The show usually has entire flashback episodes showing the story of these characters even if they are not main characters within the show itself or will even appear in more than one episode.
  • On The 4400, we have Jed Garrity, another NTAC agent who seems to be the only other person in that department. Incidentally, he's played by the same actor who played Lorne over on SGA
  • Doctor Who:
    • Supporting characters often choose to stay behind on Earth, or similar, in order to have their own adventures. Sarah Jane (twice) and Captain Jack got their own spinoffs. These "adventures" are often referenced when the character returns to the main show.
    • Rose was originally going to get a spin-off as well, but development of it fell through.
    • According to the two-parter "The Sontaran Stratagem"/"The Poison Sky", the Brigadier still takes assignments to Peru in his old age. After years of frustrated fans clamoring "Come on! Nicholas Courtney's not getting any younger!" he finally appeared on TV for the first time since 1989 in series 2 of The Sarah Jane Adventures.
    • Rory spent two thousand years protecting his fiance's tomb so that she could be brought Back from the Dead, all while reality itself fell apart around him. All we know about it is that by the end, he's one of the most well-known figures in Earth's history.
      The Doctor: So. Two thousand years. How did you do?
      Rory: Kept out of trouble.
      The Doctor: How?
      Rory: Unsuccessfully.
  • Captain Erika Hernandez of the Columbia in Star Trek: Enterprise.
    • Another example from Enterprise is Shran. They run into him several times, and he tends to take the focus when he does appear, because he's always got his own problems. He even gets to swoop in and save the Enterprise in one episode.
      • The writers were even planning on making Shran a main character if the show got a fifth season. This is probably why they destroyed his ship in the fourth season. That pretty much ended his story and forced him to join the main story.
      • The Enterprise that became a generation ship had plenty of adventures after the crew went back in time. No wonder the Xindi accused the main timeline's Enterprise of having sister ships (before any were completed).
      • There's also Daniels, who fights in the Temporal Cold War to protect the Federation.
    • TOS tended to suggest that the other Constitution-class starships generally did have their own 'only ship in the sector' and 'stumbled upon a dangerous mystery while exploring' incidents off-screen whenever other Constitution-class starships showed up. No specific individual served the Hero of Another Story role well, though.
      • Spock became the hero of another story on TNG when he dedicated his life to leading an underground dissident movement on Romulus to reunite the Vulcan and Romulan people.
    • Deep Space Nine is itself being "Another Story", given that it takes place during the time of The Next Generation and, when that ends, Voyager. It just focuses on a different cast of characters.
    • Admiral Ross is this within Deep Space Nine itself, in that he is a competent (somewhat) admiral who actually does something useful, so Sisko doesn't have to do all alone. Also we have Martok, who flies attack runs against the Dominion.
    • Also Dukat, during his time as a guerilla on a stolen Klingon bird-of-prey. Until his yet another Face–Heel Turn, that is.
    • In the episode Apocolypse Rising the character's attempting to prove that Gowron is a changeling mole, infiltrate a Klingon awards ceremony. Naturally this is a gathering place of heroes from another story.
    • Quark and Rom's mother, Ishka. She is seen challenging the degrading treatment of females on Ferenginar, is a genius businesswoman, secretly becomes the consort of the Grand Nagus and effectively takes over running the entire Ferengi Alliance, but is only seen when she becomes a problem for Quark.
    • Deep Space Nine also introduced Sloan and the agents of Section 31 (though many fans disagree whether they can be considered "heroes").
    • Subverted with a former classmate of Bashir. He assumes she has interesting stories to tell about her deep space assignment, and she says it ended up being a charting expedition. It seems a starship having exciting adventures on a regular basis, like the Enterprise, is the exception. Space is huge and mostly empty.
  • The day shifts on Homicide: Life on the Street and CSI.
  • The CSI shows CSI, CSI: Miami, CSI NY, and CSI: Cyber, share a continuity with Cold Case, and Without a Trace, making them all "another story" to each other.
  • Law & Order shares a continuity with Law & Order: SVU, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Law & Order: LA, Law & Order: Trial by Jury, Conviction, Homicide: Life on the Street, New York Undercover, In Plain Sight, Chicago Fire, Chicago P.D., Chicago Med, Chicago Justice, FBI, and FBI: Most Wanted. Each series is "another story" with respect to the others.
    • Detective Profaci on Law & Order, who was eventually a casualty in a Tonight, Someone Dies episode (not killed, but arrested for corruption, and exited stage left just the same).
    • Law & Order: Special Victims Unit introduced Detective Dave Duethorn of the robbery-homicide unit, Detective Miguel Sandoval of the narcotics unit, and Detective Lucious Blain of Queens SVU.
  • The SRU of Flashpoint had a total of five teams, but the show only focuses on Team One. Teams Three and Four make a few brief appearances each, while Two and Five are only mentioned, but it's implied their days are much the same as the series cast.
    • Notable individuals include Rolie, who is Team One in the first episode but is promoted to Sergeant and never seen again, and Donna Sabine, who fills in for Jules after she's shot and transfers to Team Three when Jules returns. Wordy becomes this as well after he resigns from SRU. (The latter two do make occasional appearances after their departures.)
  • NUMB3RS:
    • Though he's usually a part of the main story, Larry Fleindhart takes a trip into space in Season 3 and spends several months living in the desert in Season 6. He never gives more than very fleeting details about those experiences, but they would no doubt be interesting stories in their own right.
    • Megan Reeves also goes on special assignment for the latter half of season three (a case of Real Life Writes the Plot, as actress Diane Farr was pregnant). Becomes a bit of a subversion in that she seems to have come away from that feeling that she was more of a villain than a hero during that time.
  • Curtis on 24, plus several other less notable CTU agents, who lead tactical teams whenever Jack Bauer can't be there for plot reasons.
  • Commander Turner was the most visible of several JAG officers who served this purpose on JAG.
  • In Dad's Army, whatever assignment the series regulars weren't handling tended to be handed off to Private Sponge.
  • Supernatural did this in its first season, alluding to other hunters associated with the Winchesters, most notably Pastor Jim and Caleb, each mentioned in multiple episodes before a demon who was hunting down the boy's contacts killed them. This same storyline introduced Bobby, who they were able to warn in time, and who has become the longest-living recurring character of the show.
    • Early season six has an episode focusing on Bobby, with the brothers only appearing briefly.
    • Also in Supernatural, since the Apocalypse arc came to an end, Castiel is becoming this. A focus on HIS story would be frankly too effects-heavy for the show.
    • Spoofed with Garth, a hunter who teams up with Team Free Will in season 7; as well as having a name drop in season 6.
      Bobby: "Yeah, Garth, what do you got? ... Never heard of a vamp doin' that. It doesn't sound like our kind of thing. Better drop a dime to the FBI."
      Bobby hangs up the phone. Another phone labeled FBI Tom Willis rings.
      Bobby: "Willis, FBI. ... No, Garth, not me the FBI. The real FBI! How are you still alive?"
    • Season 8 reveals that during the Time Skip between seasons 7 and 8, Garth has been rebuilding the hunter network and has assumed the mentor/Mission Control role that Bobby used to have.
  • A number of examples on Babylon 5, notably Captain Maynard and the EAS Cortez notably featured, a huge exploration ship which served the more traditional Star Trek role of exploration. It's indicated that they spend so much time out exploring, that most EarthForce personnel will be fortunate to see one in person once. To hammer the point home, much of Maynard's time spent visiting Babylon 5 had him and Sheridan trading stories about what they'd done over the years since they last met.
  • The cast of Friends includes a great number of minor characters and guest stars who serve as love interests for the main characters, but only a handful last more than an episode or two. Of all the secondary characters, only Mike (Paul Rudd) convincingly suggests a character whose life does not revolve around the main characters. Although one of the stars, Phoebe (Lisa Kudrow) also repeatedly implies that she has a very strange life going on off-screen.
    • Pete Becker, the billionaire thirtysomething software tycoon and Monica's short-term love interest also had a lot going on off-screen, given the small snippets of his real life that we see.
    • The One with... The Ultimate Fighting Champion had Robin Williams and Billy Crystal as "Thomas" and "Tim" who take up space in the usual sofa the titular Friends sit on in Central Perk. They proceed to have a very eccentric discussion about their lives which leads to Joey interrupting causing Tim to realize Thomas had been sleeping with his wife. They then promptly leave and are never mentioned again.
    • In an early episode, Monica and Rachel date a pair of ER doctors (played by George Clooney and Noah Wyle) who are implied to have their own regular sitcom style dating misadventures.
  • The chipper and eccentric Special Agent Lundy from Dexter has had a long and very successful career catching serial killers. That would make a great tv show.
  • After the Smallville season 6 episode "Justice", Oliver Queen's Justice League was frequently made mention of (usually by Chloe) as they travelled the world dismantling Lex Luthor's secret metahuman labs. Every so often a Leaguer (or combinations thereof) would return for a guest appearance, and during the season 9 finale multiple heroes (including those from the Justice Society) provided cameos via the Watchtower's monitors to establish Zod's threat as a global one.
  • Even Buffy the Vampire Slayer touched upon this. Xander gets left behind as the characters take on a world-shaking threat. He himself has to deal with a clearly homicidal school bully. It gets much, much worse. Xander's story only briefly intersects with the 'Let's stop the world from ending' the other cast members are involved with...but if he had failed, the bully would have interfered with the aforementioned world-saving, triggering fun times.
    • Over the course of the show, Riley, Oz, and the entire cast of Angel becomes this.
    • More specifically, in the penultimate episode of the series, Angel arrives in a Big Damn Heroes moment. Unusually, this is a character who used to be one of the heroes of this story, left to be the hero of another story, comes back as both of the above, and then gets sent away explicitly to be the hero of another story if The Plan fails.
  • On How I Met Your Mother, Stella (Sarah Chalke) guest stars as Ted's love interest for several episodes. Her character has a child from a prior marriage, which initially makes her reluctant to date Ted. In the end, she leaves Ted to reunite with her former husband. Ted's final voice-over narration observes:
    Ted: It was the perfect ending to the perfect love story, it just wasn't mine.
    • Later on we get to see (parts of) that story from the other guy's perspective after a movie was made about it, with Ted's character as a flanderized villain. Ted is not happy about this.
    • The 200th episode "How Your Mother Met Me" is centered on the Mother and what kind of life she was living before she met Ted, from 2005 up until the wedding. It also shows just how close she could have crossed paths with Ted but always just missed him, including when Ted was teaching in the wrong classroom, when she mistakenly believed she was in the wrong classroom and was about to head back to the right classroom when Ted rushed past her and again, when the Mother went out for drinks with Louis and walked by Ted who was wearing a dress without seeing him.
    • Robin, despite being a protagonist (and Ted's future wife) gets this in The Front Porch episode, where she asks the group to stay up and watch her deliver the news. They do so, but Ted and Lily get into a fight just as the show starts, and Robin's actions during it (which include delivering a baby and saving two lives) are not noticed by them at all.
  • Community:
    • Meta Guy Abed sees his life as a collection of tropes. In one episode he remarks that "we did lean on that pretty hard last week. I could lie low for an episode." He doesn't have many lines in the rest of the episode but he can be seen in the background of another scene delivering a baby, which gets a call back in the next season when Troy asks if he just always has his own little adventures, which include ticking off a list of the "quintessential list of college experiences," a list of college film tropes. In another episode we learn he became the mask during a trip to the set of Cougar Town and had several imaginary adventures. Presumably, other characters like Annie's Boobs have active off-camera lives.
    • There's another study group on campus that apparently features Jack Black, Owen Wilson and Starburns.
    • Troy Barnes becomes this in Season 5 after he leaves Greendale to sail around the world with Levar Burton.
    • Later, in Season 6, Shirley Bennett also leaves and moves to LA to solve crimes along with an unnamed detective who's lost both his wife and the use of his legs.
    • Todd is apparently a war hero.
    • Lampshaded, frequently: overheard remarks from classmates include such gems as “We almost had a class that wasn't about them” and "Do you remember the time they went fishing?"
  • Battlestar Galactica (2003) does this to some extent - there are many, many recurring characters who clearly have a lot going on that doesn't impact on the main plot, such as the ever-busy Doc Cottle and some of the pilots such as Racetrack (who, as of the end of series 3, had been a recurring character since the beginning but had never had A Day in the Limelight) or Hotdog, who had been a supporting player from his introduction in series 1 up until the point in series 4 when it was revealed he was baby Nicky's real father.
    • The standalone features Razor and The Plan tell the other stories: in Razor the protagonist is an officer on the Pegasus, while The Plan retells events from the Cylons' viewpoint.
  • In The Walking Dead's first season the protagonists meet a group of what at first they think are gangbangers who turn out to be protecting a bunch of senior citizens too fragile to be moved. We never find out what happens to them (a discarded plotline from the season two premiere reveals they were murdered, implied to be by The Governor). Likewise Morgan and his son until two seasons later.
  • From the Earth to the Moon:
    • The series was produced by director Ron Howard and lead actor Tom Hanks from Apollo 13, retelling the story of NASA and the different missions going to the moon. The episode focusing on Apollo 13 was this, as instead of showing the astronauts (as the film had already done that) it instead focused on the media's coverage on the incident.
    • Also, the episode "The Original First Wives Club", about the wives of the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo astronauts and what they had to put up with, handle on their own, and do as wives of astronauts, shone a spotlight on women who were, in their own way, just as heroic as their husbands.
  • In the first Lexx movie Thodin the Arch-Heretic was almost the hero of the story, but then he and his compatriots all got killed and we ended up with three losers and an undead assassin.
  • Sherlock writers Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat mentioned in the commentary for "A Study in Pink" that they cast Rupert Graves because he played the character of DI Lestrade as though he could be this to Sherlock and Watson.
  • A third season episode of Andromeda reveals an alternate timeline where Rhade, Dylan's second in command in the first episode, kills Dylan in their fight in that episode. It results in him taking the role of trying to revive the Commonwealth, and showcases a few important episodes of Season 1 with him in command. In the end, Harper mentions that he seems like a scumbag, and Dylan replies "everyone is the hero of their own story."
  • Blake's 7:
    • It features the System, a cybernetic civilization that built the mysterious starship Liberator; they are the villains of another story.
    • After Jenna is Put on a Bus, it's implied that she had some serious adventures of her own before suffering a Bus Crash. Her individual heroics were finally expanded on in some of the Big Finish audio productions.
  • 30 Rock does this occasionally. Entire storylines will be mentioned in passing, often to Liz's relief.
  • In Haven, Audrey, Nathan, and Duke eventually meet other people who help protect the town from the Troubles like Dwight Hendrickson (the guy who cleans up disasters and fight scenes to keep the public in the dark about the Troubles) and Claire Callahan (the shrink who helps people recover and deal with the Troubles).
  • Red Dwarf had Ace Rimmer, a parallel universe duplicate of Rimmer whose life was identical to that of "our" Rimmer until a single incident played out differently and compelled Ace to get his shit together and become the hero of countless off screen adventures.
  • An episode of Person of Interest was told from the point of view of Sameen Shaw, a counter-terrorist agent tasked with chasing the numbers the government does consider relevant. She later became a main character.
    • Another episode had brief flashes of Det. Fusco protecting a supermodel from Albanian gangsters. His story is unrelated to that of the main characters and we only see glimpses of him doing some extremely heroic things. It demonstrated that while Fusco might be the Butt-Monkey of Team Machine, on his own he is actually a highly competent police officer.
    • Hersh and Control are borderline examples due to their immorality and frequent bouts of You Have Outlived Your Usefulness, but are still trying their best to protect America as a nation.
    • Root evolved into this after becoming an "analog interface" for the Machine, running ops around the world in order to prevent rival Machines being activated.
    • Fifth season episode "Synecdoche" features an eccentric tech genius millionaire, a former soldier and a career criminal saving... Reese, Shaw and Fusco. In the end, Logan Pierce mentions that Reese's number wasn't the first to turn up and they were working with the Machine for some time.
  • Justified':
    • The fifth season gives us DEA Agent Alex Miller, essentially an older, more world weary version of protagonist, Raylan Givens. It's very easy to imagine that Miller's past is as exciting as Raylan's present, with recurring villain Hot-Rod Dunham as his Boyd Crowder.
    • The series also has Raylan's fellow US Marshals, Rachel Brooks and Tim Gutterson. If some of the hints they let drop are indicative, Tim, and Rachel are dealing with cases that are every bit as interesting as the ones that end up on Raylan's desk.
  • It wasn't apparent at the time, but Saul Goodman of Breaking Bad turns out to have been this, now that he has his own prequel.
  • The Arrowverse has several series, all of whom are "Another Story" with respect to each other.
    • On Arrow, John Constantine and Mari McCabe fill this role, implying that their adventures haven't ended just because their series had ended. When Thea asks why Constantine can't help with their latest mystical problem, Oliver explains that currently Constantine is in Hell. Literally. No more details are given on the subject. Meanwhile, Mari's introduction in the series has her in the middle of handling a case in Detroit. Another DC hero whose story happens offscreen is Christopher Chance / Human Target, a friend of Oliver who is called twice to help in Team Arrow's missions. In Season 6, Slade Wilson chooses to find his sons on his own, despite Oliver offering help,note  while Thea leaves Team Arrow to locate and destroy other Lazarus Pits around the world, alongside Roy and Nyssa. In Season 7, Laurel returns to Earth-2, reformed as Black Canary, to protect her Star City much as Oliver protects his.
    • The Flash has Jessie Quick and Jay Garrick, both of whom have their own adventures as speedsters on Earth-2 and 3 respectively. In one episode, it's briefly mentioned that Jessie has formed a Team Flash of her own. After becoming a speedster, Wally chooses to leave Team Flash in Season 4 so he can step out of Barry's shadow and help people outside Central City. Cisco's rival-turned-girlfriend Gypsy also has off-camera adventures as an inter-dimensional bounty hunter.
    • In Supergirl, Supergirl is the defender of National City. Superman is busy defending Metropolis, so he's usually only mentioned, but occasionally shows up to lend Supergirl a hand. A few lines indicate that, other than James, Superman's circle of friends (possibly the same ones from Smallville, as Canon Foreigner Chloe Sullivan is mentioned) exist in the series as well. Others suggest that Batman is an active hero. In Season 2, Miss Martian leaves Earth to lead the resistance against the White Martians. Season 3 introduces the Legion of Super-Heroes, a superhero team from the 30th century, whose members include Mon-El, Brainy, and (later) Winn.
    • In Legends of Tomorrow, Jonah Hex, Rip Hunter's old friend, appears only when the Legends are visiting the Old West. Season 2 introduces the Justice Society of America, whose offscreen adventures happened during The '40s and The '50s, though one of its members, Amaya, eventually joins the Legends. In Season 3, Rip creates an entire time-travel agency, the Time Bureau, that by all accounts is better at what they do than the main characters, though they still (begrudgingly) need the Legends' help from time to time.
    • Crisis on Earth-X shows a rebel group led by its version of Winn Schott resisting the Nazis from taking over Earth-X completely. Naturally, the Earth-1 and 38 heroes help them liberate Earth-X from the Nazis. Their adventures are expanded in the animated prequel spin-off Freedom Fighters: The Ray.
    • Crisis on Infinite Earths has a boatload of cameos from all over the DC multiverse, showing heroes of other worlds and their reactions to the Crisis as it happens. Some of them play more meaningful roles (including Earth-96 Superman), but perhaps the biggest cameo of all was from Movie!Barry Allen, who meets his Arrowverse counterpart in the Speed Force, apparently lost and unaware of the Crisis (Arrowverse Barry ends up giving Movie!Barry the idea to use "The Flash" as his alias).
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. gives this treatment to Phil Coulson, a character who previously appeared in a secondary role in Iron Man, Iron Man 2, Thor and The Avengers.
    • Agents of SHIELD has now generated a few Heroes of Another Story of its own. Any SHIELD agent who survived the events of the first two seasons but didn't join either HYDRA, Team Coulson, or a neutral third party like Stark Industries or the CIA counts (named examples include Mike Peterson, Agent Weaver and the other surviving members of "The Real SHIELD", who are presumably still off doing SHIELD-y stuff somewhere). The biggest examples, though, are Bobbi Morse and Lance Hunter, new leads introduced in Season 2 who eventually depart for their own spinoff, Marvel's Most Wanted - except the show was never picked up. Still, Hunter later returns for a single episode and mentions how their wedding got interrupted by ninjas, so clearly their adventures are still happening, just now offscreen.
  • Inspector Zenigata of the Lupin III series stars in his own live-action dramas where he gets ensnared into several dangerous cases that were made to look like Lupin was the culprit. Zenigata, being the premier Lupin expert, sets out to prove his nemesis was being framed and it shows that when he's not on Lupin's trail, Zenigata really is the most accomplished detective on the force.
  • In Horatio Hornblower, "Retribution", "Colonel" Francois Lefanu, a slave leader in the Haitian revolution, parlays with the British, revealing his men killed a group of deserters from the Renown, mistaking them for Spanish, and demanding the British leave the area, asserting it is not their fight.
  • The majority of protagonists in Kamen Rider usually continue having the adventures offscreen after their story ends. This is most explicit with the Showa Era Riders, who were often said to be busy fighting evil syndicates worldwide after saving Japan (and presumably still do so), but still present with many of the others. Kamen Rider Double is still acting as the protector of their city, Eiji is off using his powers to help people (and according to a book singlehandedly ended a war his politician father helped start using his powers) and on a quest to resurrect his friend Ankh by fixing his broken Core Medal, and Kouta is busy literally being God for a planet on the other side of the universe for example. Sento Kiryu/Kamen Rider Build also qualifies, as his story is the first one that takes place outside of the Shared Universe concept established by Decade (at least until he engages in multiversal shenanigans in the finale).
  • On Jane the Virgin, this is done with Jane's First Love Adam, who has his own Narrator (who is a woman, as opposed to Jane's male narrator) and all.
  • Quite literally true on Schooled. Barry is one of the main characters, and the person whose romance with Lainey we're supposed to be rooting for, on The Goldbergs. On the spin-off he guest stars as the rival keeping Lainey from being available for series regular C.B.
  • At the end of the Band of Brothers episode "Crossroads," we meet Second Lieutenant George C. Rice of the 10th Armored Division, played by Jimmy Fallon in a cameo. Knowing that Bastogne was going to be surrounded, and knowing that the 101st was going to be really short on ammunition, Rice made nine separate trips in a jeep that was towing a trailer back and forth from a nearby supply depot to Bastogne in order to bring what ammo he could to the troops digging in against the German advance. He did this on his own volition. His last trip was technically made after the Germans had surrounded the town, and the only reason he didn't make a tenth trip was because he was specifically ordered by his CO to stand down. Rice was nominated for a Medal of Honor for his actions.
  • Power Rangers:
  • Farscape:
    • Scorpius' loyal Dragon and confidant Braca, who has his own story about slowly rising through the ranks thanks to his loyalty and good conduct, with Scorpius serving as his mentor (and maybe-love interest).
    • Rygel mentioned one of his ancestors had served on the front lines during a war alongside his troops.
    • Jotheb, the ruler of the Consortium of Trau.
    • Post-Heel–Face Turn Crais and Talyn, during the period between them leaving Moya and her crew and meeting up with them again, were implied to be having as much adventures as the main cast did, which we only ever got to see fragments of.
  • Resurrection Ertugrul: In season 2, the now-reformed Selcan Hatun has a b-plot revolving her attempts to expose Aytolun Hatun’s implied treachery, though it eventually becomes apparent to Ertugrul and the others as time goes on.
  • Better Call Saul shows the lives of the supporting cast members of Breaking Bad and what they were doing before they met Walter White.
  • Odd Squad has any agents besides the main characters. Occasionally we get glimpses of their adventures or A Day in the Limelight.
  • In Bones, occasionally Booth and Brennan will run into another odd pair of team of crime fighters that they will have to work with in order to solve the mystery of the week including a crossover with another (short-lived) crime show about an eccentric and talented "Finder" and his hard-line Law Enforcement Handler. There is also "The Yanks In The UK" where they team up with (in Booth's words) "The British Version of me and you!" (A top-line forensic anthropologist who consults with Scotland Yard and his Detective Partner).
  • Titans: The Justice League is this, being the older, more experienced superhero group compared to the titular Titans and including such big-name figures as Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman. The whole reason why Dick forms the Titans in the first place is because he wants to be remembered as someone other than Batman's sidekick.

  • Variation in The Megas, where once Proto Man learns to let go of his anger and pulls a Heel–Face Turn, he decides to become this, looking on Mega Man as The Hero but setting out to find his own path.
    Though my fate is broken, my path I cannot see
    Though you are the chosen, I'll make my own history
  • Taylor Swift album evermore deconstructed this trope with "marjorie", which is a Grief Song tribute to her grandmother Marjorie Finley and how Taylor moans that she, despite all of the good memories mentioned earlier in the song, will never fully know what an incredible person her grandmother was, all the while expressing heavy guilt and regret for not asking more questions because of her own young age:
    I should've asked you questions
    I should've asked you how to be
    Asked you to write it down for me
    Should've kept every grocery store receipt
    'Cause every scrap of you would be taken from me
    Watched as you signed your name Marjorie
    All your closets of backlogged dreams
    And how you left them all to me.

  • Welcome to Night Vale has various examples, the most memorable being Dana, who gets lost in the Dog Park, and Tamika Flynn, child leader of the revolution against Strexcorp.
  • The Adventure Zone: Balance has the Hogsbottom Three, who have adventures in the same world as Tres Horny Boys but never meet them beyond passing familiarity with each others' careers and a cameo for The Hogsbottom Three in Barry and Lup's army in the penultimate episode.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • Jerry Lawler continued to wrestle in the territories, outlaw promotions and later the independent circuit even after his time as an active WWF competitor ended, and usually was received as a baby face away from the WWF.
  • El Hijo Del Santo's infamous turn to rudo only took hold in CMLL. Everywhere else he went in Mexico he was received and thus booked as a tecnico. Eventually CMLL's fans started cheering for him again to, so he turned back and became the hero of everyone's story again.
  • Glamour Boy Shane is one of the most popular baby face wrestlers in the Caribbean, especially Puerto Rico. He merely serves as a referee for TNA, albeit, a referee few wrestlers dare to mess with. Shane was supposed to be part of a champion vs champion match when TNA became part of the World Wrestling League but it didn't pan out due to then TNA World Champion Bobby Roode's flight being canceled.

  • Ruby Quest:
    • The Stinger implies that Daisy, who Ruby meets once rather early on in the quest, will be the heroine of the next attempt to escape the Metal Glen.
    • And then there's Red, who, prior to the game's beginning, managed to pierce together what happened in the Metal Glen (despite suffering from amnesia after being resurrected) enough to realize that he could kill himself off for real (thus escaping the Metal Glen) if he survived long enough for his body to rid itself of the Cure. He then managed to put his plan into action, avoiding death by his horribly mutated coworkers and patients and hiding from Ace long enough to become truly clean. Ruby only gets to see the tail end of his plan, when he builds a bomb with materials he scrounged (including two coins from her), kills himself with sharpened stakes, and uses the bomb to obliterate his body beyond the possibility of resurrection. The only hint she gets of his plan (other than the bit she saw) was his secret Room Full of Crazy above the monitor room ( presumably where he hid from Ace) and the box of cereal inside ( Showing that he, unlike people on the Cure, needed to eat).

    Tabletop Games 
  • This is how most Tabletop RPGs based on media properties work: the Enterprise, or Luke Skywalker, or Peter Venkman, or the Doctor is out there somewhere, but in this particular place and time you are the starship crew/Rebel base/Ghostbusters franchise/renegade Time Lord on the scene.
  • Every character in Arkham Horror starts this way. They all have detailed backgrounds with them ranging from escaping cultists, hunting monsters, looking for lost loved ones, etc. The only thing they have in common once the game starts is that they ultimately have the same endgame.


    Video Games 
  • Namu Amida Butsu! -UTENA-: Shaka Nyorai, a.k.a. Siddārtha Gautama, whose life and adventures before Bonnō Temple as the founder of Buddhism, victor against Māra and savior of the world are exciting enough to be its own standalone story, but is never elaborated upon in the game beyond a few backstory mentions. Luckily, actual Buddhist mythos got you covered.
  • Ryu Hayabusa from the Ninja Gaiden games also makes an appearance in the Dead or Alive series as a secondary protagonist, and it is confirmed that the two are set in a Shared Universe. Likewise, the latter's heroine Kasumi makes sporadic appearance in the former, but more relegated to non-canon appearances.
  • Super Robot Wars:
    • The first Super Robot Wars Original Generation game gives you the choice of stoic gambler Kyosuke or Hot-Blooded Ascended Fanboy Ryusei. For the first half of the game, they play this role in the other's storyline.
    • Similarly, other games in the series will have Route Splits, where the player can choose one of two or three different paths for a few missions. Whichever one the player picks, the rest of the team fulfills this trope and takes care of business on their own.
    • One such split in W can actually put the player into this role: While trying to track down Kaname and Tessa in Orb, the Mycene Empire attacks all over the world. After fighting off the monsters sent to attack Orb, you rush off to Paris to help your other teammates there, and arrive just in time to see Mazinkaiser, Great Mazinger, and Shin Getter Robo finish off Ankoku Daishogun.
    • Alpha 3 has "extra stages" which are independent missions that can be accessed from the scenario chart in the options menu. These detail some of the goings on in the story that the Alpha Numbers aren't present for, specifically. 1. What the Raideen and Dancougar people were up to during Alpha 2 (which were notably absent for) 2. Ditto for Gunbuster, and Macross. 3. Ryusei getting his confidence back when he was recovering for the first half the game. 4. the Debut of Ratsel's Aussenseiter. 5. Rai Mai, Sanger and Ratsel and the Tesla lab crew hurrying to roll out Banpreios 6. The villains (now allies) of Voltes V and Daimos defending the refugees of their people from the Balmar and getting their affairs in order in prepartion for a take back of their planets.
    • Masaki Andoh is probably just being an 'extra character' whenever he features in a Super Robot Wars game (be it OG or not), as he and Cybuster was originally a stand-in for Aura Battler Dunbine. However, the Super Robot Wars Gaiden game later reveals that he's pretty much The Hero in the saga of La Gias, which is also pretty rich in backstory. This trope is lampshaded in Second Original Generations, when the OG heroes visit La Gias, and surprised with how much Masaki was treated with full respect like a real hero when otherwise he's just being your typical 'wandering kid who gets lost at times.
      • From the same game, Shu Shirakawa is this with the release of Dark Prison for 2nd OG as it covers what he's been doing behind the scenes during the La Gias portion of the game.
    • Shin Super Robot Wars also has a route split, but it covers a majority of the game itself. In fact, some characters are exclusive to each route. The only time they get to meet is in the True Final Boss scenario.
  • Flint Paper in Sam & Max. When you first meet him in "Ice Station Santa", Sam asks why he hasn't been seen all year. He replies by listing a series of adventures remarkably similar to the plots of Season One. Max then asks why can't they do "cool stuff" like that.
  • The Warden of Dragon Age: Origins fills this role in Dragon Age II and Dragon Age: Inquisition, attempting to find a cure to the blight.
    • Bethany/Carver also become this if they end up becoming Grey Wardens, or Circle-Mage/Templar. What they did in the last 6 years before Act 3 is left vague.
    • Also Zevran after the end of Origins. He shows up in the sequel but only as a side quest (and can help during the final battle). Furthermore, he's the only Origins love interest who is still travelling with The Warden.
    • Flemeth has her own agenda. It's not known what she does during her time in the Fade, but it requires the souls of dead gods. And then she's absorbed by the Dread Wolf himself! Who has to make things right.
    • Alistair has his own series of adventures after Origins, especially if he becomes Ferelden's king, or to a slightly lesser extent, Hawke's Grey Warden friend.
    • Inquisition actually has the Player Character themselves invoke this through the War Table, where they send their various agents, forces, and allies on adventures and operations all across Thedas, the most notable being the Bull's Chargers and Sutherland and Company.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh! The Falsebound Kingdom, there's sort of an In-Universe example. Moisture Creature is included as a Hidden Character, and he claims to be an alien that got trapped inside the game and was identified as a monster character. (Not technically true, because Moisture Creature is a real card in the actually card game.)
  • Your rival adventurers in Elona will wander about the continent, clearing dungeons, finding treasures, and visiting towns on their own. Every time you bump into them, you can challenge them, barter for their equipment, hire them as bodyguards or romance them.
    • Also, should you sacrifice them or beat them up enough to shame them off the continent, new ones take their place.
  • Luigi in Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door. He's been going on his own adventures and getting his own party members on his own time (even getting a book series adapted). While the books claim to be going on a truly epic adventure, he describes them to Mario in a much simpler way (the books claim that during a play he had the role of a "magnificent earth spirit", while he told Mario that he played the role of grass) but still painting himself as the hero of the story, and then when asking his (usually beleaguered) party members, they state that Luigi's exploits are just one Epic Fail to another Epic Fail and it's usually up to them to pull him out.
  • Ace Combat:
    • Ace Combat Xi: Skies of Incursion takes place during the same war as Ace Combat X: Skies of Deception; the player character this time is the leader of Falco Squadron, another Aurelian unit that flies together with Gryphus Squadron late in X.
    • Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War has the Sea Goblin Team, a special operations unit that essentially does on the ground what you and your wingmates do in the air (i.e. The Impossible). You fly top-cover for them while they pull off their trademark Gunship Rescues at certain points in the game.
    • Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies has Bravo Team, a ground team involved in several combined-arms missions, including the beach landings of Operation Bunker Shot and raiding the control room for Megalith.
  • In the King of Fighters series, Terry Bogard, Ryo Sakazaki, and Robert Garcia are only part of the supporting cast and have no real bearing on the series' key events. But, in their respective origin series:
    • Terry was originally the protagonist of the Fatal Fury series, where he was responsible for repeatedly saving Southtown by defeating the likes of Geese Howard, Wolfgang Krauser, and the Jin Twins, among others.
    • In Art of Fighting, Ryo was jointly responsible for taking down Mr. Big's Syndicate, in order to rescue his sister, Yuri. While in the following game, he went on to become the first chronological champion of the King of Fighters tournament, by defeating Geese over a decade prior to Terry.
    • And Robert was responsible for defeating Mr. Big (AOF1) and was the hero of AOF3, during which, he journeyed to the fictional city of Glasshill Valley, Mexico, to protect his childhood friend, Freia Lawrence. At the game's conclusion, he saved her by defeating both Sinclair and Wyler.
    • The same is true for Ralf Jones and his partner, Clark Steel, who originally were the heroes of the Ikari Warriors series (as P1 and P2 respectively).
  • Bianca Schuler was this in the first System Shock game. SHODAN hated her so much that she imprisoned her in a cage next to her main memory bank so she could watch her die.
  • Dr. Marie Delacroix of System Shock 2 is another SHODAN-assisted agent aboard the Von Braun, always just one step ahead of the player. While the player doesn't interact with or even see her until you find her corpse, the player finds her audio logs throughout the game. Late in the game SHODAN abandons her and leaves her to die.
  • BioShock 2 has Mark Meltzer, the hero of the Viral Marketing storyline released before the game. The player can track Meltzer's progress through Rapture through audio diaries he leaves and eventually kills him without even thinking about it.
    • BioShock Infinite: The voxophones replace the audio logs for all intents and purposes. Aside from an alternate universe Booker and Elizabeth, Preston E. Downs leaves behind audio logs to document his bounty hunting of Vox Populi leader Daisy Fitzroy... and then shifts gears when he accidentally cripples a little kid. It's not known if he was backstabbed by the Vox or said kid after switching sides or became one of the major leaders of the Vox.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
  • Crowe in Star Ocean: The Last Hope is a perfect example, traveling the universe and having adventures with his own ship and later serving as The Cavalry several times for the main party.
  • Near the end of Persona 3 Portable, you can talk to a man at Club Escapade in the endgame, who talks about his problems but states that they've got nothing to do with you. The man (named Vincent) is an Early-Bird Cameo from a game called Catherine, where he is a main character.
  • Meanwhile, in Catherine itself, Vincent's friends and other assorted possible drinking buddies are each going through drama that's led to them experiencing the same nightmare world trials that Vincent starts finding himself in at the start of the game. Most of them need a bit of outside help (i.e. a confidante, namely Vincent) to have the will to get through their struggles, but most of what they go through over the course of the game is offscreen and independent of the central plot.
  • Both Felix and Isaac's groups assume this role at different points in the Golden Sun games. In Golden Sun, Felix is on a quest with the antagonists to unleash Alchemy on the world and you hear a few people mention him and his group as you travel. In Golden Sun: The Lost Age, you take over Felix's role while occasionally hearing tales about Isaac's group as you travel. Isaac and Felix's parties finally meet at one point and they team up to finish Felix's quest.
    • There's also Sean and Ouranos, who you ride with on the boat across the Karagol Sea. They have unique sprites and icons, personality quirks (such as Ouranos' fear of water), and have obviously been traveling around for a while to be as strong as they are. Although they get their asses handed to them by the Kraken (Which happens to be That One Boss), they are more than capable of fighting off the other monsters that attack the ship.
  • Many of the characters you encounter in TimeSplitters: Future Perfect are this. An interesting twist occurs in some of the cutscenes, in which YOU are the aforementioned hero, thanks to a Stable Time Loop.
  • Whether you can call them heroes is debatable, but the various protagonists in the Grand Theft Auto franchise often serve as this to each other, as each focuses game on the exploits and story of a different character, but they'll often (briefly) cross paths with each other.
    • Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. The protagonist, C.J. sees his insane girlfriend run off with a quiet racing competitor. Said quiet man is the main character, Claude, in the (chronologically later, though earlier released) Grand Theft Auto III.
    • Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories focuses on Victor Vance, a character that died in the prologue of the original Grand Theft Auto: Vice City.
    • The main story of Grand Theft Auto IV centers around Niko Bellic. The two following DLC releases, collectively titled "Episodes from Liberty City", focus on biker Johnny Klebitz and Luis Fernando Lopez, bodyguard and hitman for club owner Tony Prince. The three occasionally run across one another, but their stories are largely independent. All three are together in a single location only once, during a diamond deal they've all been brought into by various circumstances (which was foreshadowed by the achievement for completing the diamond mission in Niko's story, called "Impossible Trinity").
    • Can happen in normal gameplay in Grand Theft Auto V. The three protagonists (Michael, Trevor, and Franklin) usually only work together when hanging out as friends or during missions, but there are chances—however slim—that a protagonist might actually cross paths with one or both of the other protagonists doing something else, independent of the player's control. However, there's a lot of land, sea, and air to travel on, so the chances of the protagonists meeting each other by accident are usually very slim. Also, all three protagonists can run into Patrick McReary (A friend/accomplice of Niko Bellic back in Liberty City) during a failed robbery, extract him out of there, and wind up having him work with them on a heist!
  • Acting Chief Engineer Jacob Temple would have made a good protagonist for a Dead Space DLC. The only real difference between him and Silent Protagonist Isaac Clarke is that Isaac's girlfriend was in Medical - Jacob's was in hydroponics. Through the game, you find logs on the same path as Isaac's, with Temple literally doing all the things that Isaac does, only failing. But, hey, at least he found his girlfriend alive. Their murder comes off as a genuinely tragic moment, despite the fact that you never interacted with either of them.
    • Lexine Weller from the DLC Severed does not encounter Isaac Clarke at any point in either of the first two games, despite having her incredibly important storyline due to her immunity to the effects of the Marker and managing to survive both of the Necromorph outbreaks Isaac was present for.
  • In Super Mario RPG, Samus Aran and Link can be found resting in bed at various points.
  • Fallout is home to a huge cast of characters. Some you interact with alive, others you find dead on arrival, and others you run into just as their own personal story ends. It's not uncommon to come across the corpse of a person and wonder if they were just unlucky and got killed, or were in the process of their own journey.
    • The mysterious stranger leaves his footprints all over the irradiated future of America, but you never learn a concrete detail about him, although there are details scattered about such as a man who may be his son in New Vegas, or Nick Valentine from 4 commenting on seeing him "again", implying he's been trying to figure out who he is for some time. Additionally, you never know if he's helping you out or if the two of you coming in contact like this is a repetitive coincidence.
    • Marcus really gives this impression, being among those responsible for taking down the Enclave in Fallout 2 and reappearing in Fallout: New Vegas as leader of a Super Mutant refuge.
    • In Fallout 3, you can find an emergency broadcast in an area stating that a child is sick, and the family is holed up waiting for supplies, having escaped some kind of disaster. When you find this little bunker, you realize it's a radio with an emergency message that's been playing on loop for an unknown amount of time. Judging by the skeletons in the room they may have been there since the war, two hundred years ago. You never really learn who the family was or how they got there either, and you never learn if they got the help they needed (although it's likely they didn't given they stayed in the bunker).
    • Before you board the boat to Point Lookout in the Fallout 3 DLC of that name, you meet a woman named Catherine, who asks you to find here missing daughter Nadine there. Nadine turns out to be doing fine, having her own adventures and helping the Lone Wanderer with theirs a few times. Before you confront the ferryman late in the main story, you find Nadine has beaten you to it.
    • Fallout: New Vegas has Vulpes Inculta, a spy who manages to beat the Courier to Nipton, The Strip, and The Fort, no matter how fast the Courier travels. He is involved in many covert operations, and it's implied that when you don't see him, he's wreaking havoc in NCR territory somewhere.
      • Any of the NCR Rangers. They have spies everywhere, even at all the Legion bases. You even meet a drug dealer who turns out to be one. Imagine how many are out there.
      • And finally there's Ulysses, who is gradually revealed to have visited every location explored in the DLC packs and had his own adventures there before his final confrontation with the Courier in Lonesome Road.
    • Fallout 4 has you run into a group of five people: Preston Garvey, Sturges, Mama Murphy, Jun Long, and Marcy Long. The four appear to have been running for a long time, and had a much larger group than the ragtag group of five left at the end. After helping them escape Concord, Preston can tell you about the minutemen, a huge plot regarding betrayal, the collapse of the minutemen, and so forth. Should you check the southern end of Quincy, you can also come across three gunners known as Tessa, Clint, and Baker. Killing them and reading the various terminals explains even more of the tragic events that led up to the five holing up in the museum you saved them from.
      • Kellogg's entire backstory shows him as having one heck of a bad train ride called life that ended with you and him confronting one another. The segment of the game where you find out all of this roughly takes up over ten minutes of time just to watch.
      • Paladin Brandis and his team had a huge streak of bad luck that resulted in him being stranded in the Commonwealth for a long time. You only arrive in the Commonwealth after he's become paranoid and nearly given up, and never learn the entirety of his story.
      • You meet Brian Vergil after his escape from the Institute, and he never really tells you how that went or any of the details between then and when you meet with him, although there are some clues in his old lab.
  • Wing Commander has this in the form of other pilots. Especially in Prophecy Maniac and some other pilots start as aces while the player is a green-horn. In missions they often lead different squads and are only heard over radio fulfilling their part of the plan. The player joins them towards the end of the game.
  • In Starlancer, the player actually plays this role. Especially in the beginning, the player's team of misfits is largely unknown while established aces like Klaus Steiner are often mentioned on TV. It is not until much later in the game that the player is treated as an equal. The news reports certainly help to make the player feel like there's a devastating war on, instead of a series of small engagements. A war that would last another 100 years.
  • In the first of the two video game prequels to the Eureka Seven anime series, Holland (Supporting Leader in the main series) initiates his anti-government movement while main character Sumner Sturgeon is busy dealing with his own issues.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles has the player character(s) encounter many other myrrh-gathering groups, including the real main characters. You're just there to watch.
    • In Final Fantasy VII, Cloud discovers that his choppy memories are actually those of Zack, who gets his story told in Crisis Core.
    • This happens several times in Final Fantasy XIV:
      • The first three dungeons of A Realm Reborn let you talk with several groups of other adventurers who are all looking to clear out the dungeons as well, including a party of four lead by a gladiator and his conjurer fiancée who are preparing to clear the first dungeon, another party of three lead by a Roegadyn who arrive at the second dungeon after you've beaten it, and another group of an older adventurer and his granddaughter. All three groups' stories end on sour notes at best - the first group's tank dies in the first dungeon because his fiancée couldn't keep him healed, the older adventurer nearly dies to an elementary blunder and is forced to retire, and the Roegadyn's group are all killed in the third dungeon as they take on too many enemies at once and get overwhelmed.
      • During Stormblood, Estinien wanders around helping people and aiding the Eorzean Alliance when needed. His story does not intersect with the Warrior of Light's except at the end of the 4.0 story where he destroys Nidhogg's eyes once they're completely spent of aether fueling the Final Boss, during the level 70 Dragoon quest, and patch 4.56, where he saves the Warrior of Light from Elidibus.
      • In Shadowbringers, Estinien reprises his role to fill in for the Warrior of Light and the Scions while they are in the First, while teaming up with Gaius to curb the production of Black Rose, an alchemical superweapon designed to halt the flow of one's aether. The two make their way to Garlemald to confront Emperor Varis, only to find Zenos in his original body striking his father down.
  • The Spartan Captain of God of War II manages to get to the island of the Fates and get to the phoenix puzzle. He does this without any sort of godly powers or assistance from them, and would have gotten further if he didn't encounter Kratos in a dark room. There's also the people who were once all those corpses you see lying around deep inside each of the major locations, and the Argonauts, Perseus, and Icarus are also on their own adventures on the island.
  • Captain Marcus Walker in Freelancer is the commander of the Liberty cruiser LNS Utah. Unlike the Anti-Hero Trent, Walker is a straight shooter who takes pride in his service. He even offers to help Trent join the Liberty Navy. After helping to defend the Willard Research Station and a Liberty battleship, Walker disappears for a while, before reappearing to help Trent and the others escape from a Liberty ambush in Zone-21. It's not clear what he did while Trent was out doing his thing, but given his impressive record and his Heroic Sacrifice, it was probably something awesome. Then there's Casper Orillion, the man in charge of The Order. Actually, there are plenty of characters, including Ozu, Michael King, Lord Hakkera, and Diedrich Von Claussen, who are impressive in their own right. Even cooler, Walker actually mentions that while they were gone, he and his crew launched guerilla attacks against Rheinland supply depots in the Border Worlds. Pity you don't get to see it.
  • The Signature Heroes of RuneScape, while still a relatively new concept as of the time of this statement, appear to be this to the player.
  • Everyone else at Wigglytuff's Guild in Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers. They're on their own adventures daily, and you even hear bits and pieces about them. In Explorers Of The Sky, you get to actually step into their shoes and see some of their adventures first hands.
  • The Call of Duty games often invoke this trope, particularly the ones focused on World War II. The different characters you play as, while they never meet each other in-game, help to contribute in their own way in order to defeat the Germans on vastly separated fronts.
  • Mass Effect has Captain Kirrahe, a Salarian Spectial Task Group commando, who gives a rousing Patrick Stewart Speech to his squad telling them to Hold the Line and act as the distraction while Shepard and his team infiltrate the base and plant a nuke on Virmire. Throughout the mission we hear both the gunfire of their unseen battle and their radio chatter, reminding Shepard that in comparison, Shepard's mission is the easy one.
    • Even though Garrus rejoins the squad early on in Mass Effect 2, the fact that his activities in between 1 and 2 caused all three major mercenary bands in Omega to join forces to take him down makes it clear that he's been busy, even before this is confirmed during dialogue. His dossier in the Lair of the Shadow Broker even lampshades the fact that he's practically Shepard's equal, but is unlikely to fully come into his own as long as he's working with Shepard.
    • In Mass Effect 3, this extends to every surviving member of the Suicide Mission in the last game, with the exception of Garrus and Tali, who join your squad for the third time. To whit:
  • Kasumi is being tracked by a Salarian Spectre (who fits this trope himself), whom she helps on a different investigation.
  • Thane dies of a combination of a stab wound by Kai Leng (incurred while protecting the Salarian Councillor) and Kepral's.
  • Mass Effect 3 also has Admiral David Anderson and his second in command, Major Coates, both of whom stayed behind on Earth to set up a resistance fight against the Reaper invaders prior to Commander Shepard arriving with the Sword Fleet to liberate Earth. There are many fans out there who are rather vocal about their desire to see a new Mass Effect title based on that story.
  • Anderson is also the hero of the tie-in novels — Revelation, Ascension, Retribution, and the much-maligned Deception.
  • Also from Mass Effect 3 comes Jondom Bau, Council Spectre and all around Salarian badass. Your single mission with him gives you the feeling that this guy's been around and that following him around for a couple of games would make for some incredible stories.
  • TRON: Evolution has the protagonist Anon, a newly rezzed Security Monitor who starts his function just as CLU triggers The Purge in the backstory of TRON: Legacy. Anon goes through all kinds of troubles to keep CLU from finishing off the last ISO, Quorra. And by the end of the game, he dies saving her.
  • When the Left 4 Dead 2 group meets the Left 4 Dead group in The Passing, each group is this to the other group.
  • In The Trail Of Anguish, Chris is just a cute boy to you, but he claims to be on some unrevealed adventure of his own.
  • Banjo's was this in his appearance in Diddy Kong Racing, according to the game's instruction manual.
  • Fire Emblem: Thracia 776 is essentially this for Leif, a supporting character from Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War's second half. The game takes place a year before the second half of Genealogy and follows Leif in the Thracian Peninsula and his desperate struggle to reclaim his kingdom while fighting a division of the Grannvale Empire and the Loptyr Cult. Seliph, the actual hero of Genealogy shows up briefly and his role is essentially to have a much more badass army to initially increase Leif's self doubt.
  • In the original launch of Fire Emblem: Three Houses, the Death Knight becomes this on the Crimson Flower route, as he's off fighting on another front while you accompany Edelgard. The version 1.1.0 update allows him to join your party, though.
  • This happens roughly once per game in the Summon Night: Swordcraft Story series. Particularly obvious in the second, where a Power Trio seeking out a MacGuffin of some sort briefly cross paths with you and team up to the fight the local baddie, then continue their quest. That would make you this in relation to them, for that matter.
  • Silent Hill 2, and while we're using the term "hero" a bit loosely since pretty much everyone called to that town is screwed in the head, has Angela and Eddie, who have both been called to the town to face their inner darkness exactly like James. Angela's fate is left ambiguous and the last we see of her is her ascending a flaming staircase after essentially giving up, and Eddie turns psychotic and is killed by James in self defense.
  • In Silent Hill: Downpour, the Full Circle ending implies that Howard Blackwood, JP Sater, and DJ Bobby Ricks were all Heroes of their own stories, but failed and became stuck in Silent Hill limbo as a result. Anne Cunningham plays this trope the most straight: every time Murphy encounters her she looks more rough than before, as she is also enduring the same sort of nightmares and monsters, and she even has a final boss she has to face: Murphy himself.
  • In Neverwinter Nights 2: Storm of Zehir, the player characters are this in relation to the Knight-Captain, the PC from the first two campaigns. (SoZ takes place during or after Mask of the Betrayer, on the opposite side of the continent.)
    • The original NW 2 also applies, from the party members (such as Shandra, who even has a similar background to the Knight-Captain's) to all of the major antagonists.
    • The hero of the original Neverwinter Nights and the hero of Shadow of Undrentide and Hordes of the Underdark are this to one another — Shadow of Undrentide takes place roughly around the same time as Neverwinter Nights (Hordes of the Underdark takes place a while after, but canonically has the same hero as Shadow of Undrentide).
  • A lot of the NPCs from Dark Souls are this trope. You'll often find them in extremely dangerous areas like Anor Londo and Lost Izalith, meaning they must be pretty badass to fight their way there. Moreover, several of them are direct analogues to the player:
    • Solaire of Astora is undertaking a parallel journey to your own in his world, having conquered all of the challenges you face before you do, engraved his summon sign near a number of bosses, and even, judging by some of his Dummied Out dialogue, escaped the Undead Asylum just as you did. Word of God confirms that if you save him in Lost Izalith and summon him for the final boss battle, he then goes on to defeat Gwyn and link the Fire in his own world, thus finding his own sun at long last.
    • Oscar of Astora, the Elite Knight who frees you from your cell and gives you the tools you need to take on your quest, journeyed to the Undead Asylum in hopes of somehow taking part in the supposed prophecy of the Chosen Undead. As it stands in-game, his failure enables the player's victory; in an entire subplot cut from the game, however, his role would have gone much farther. In this scenario, Oscar would have escaped the Asylum along with the player, met up with them multiple times after the latter rings the Bells of Awakening (including an instance where he partners up with you to fight through the Forest Hunters and reach Artorias's grave), and had his own dealings with the two Primordial Serpents and perhaps even Solaire. But as it becomes clear that your accomplishments better fit the prophecy, Oscar's need to take his place in destiny would have consumed him. Out of jealousy, he would have sided with the Serpent that you didn't side with, and would appear at the end of the game to fight you to the death for the title of Chosen Undead.
  • Valkyria Chronicles III: Welkin (militia), Leon (military), Baldren (military), Juliana (military), Avan (civil defense).
  • In Half-Life 2, Isaac Kleiner, Eli Vance and Barney Calhoun have obviously had quite a number of adventures and have set up the infrastructure for a rebellion, with Barney even infiltrating the Combine. But those adventures are really never talked about much.
    • In Half Life: Opposing Force, the player character is one of the soldiers sent to Black Mesa. Gordon Freeman makes a cameo.
  • In Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines, Gangrel scholar Beckett is only in LA to investigate the rumors of the Ankaran Sarcophagus, and bumps into you on occasion to offer advice. He's up to a lot in the bigger scheme of the Old World of Darkness, though, and indeed he's one of the main heroes of the Vampire setting.
  • Assassin's Creed:
    • In Assassin's Creed III Connor Kenway ends up meeting up with Aveline de Grandpré, protagonist of Assassin's Creed III: Liberation. In this case, it also applies to Aveline as well in her game.
    • In Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag, Edward Kenway's quartermaster, ex-slave Adewale, leaves the crew to have his own adventures in a Spin-Off DLC about two-thirds of the way through the main story. You also periodically interact with fellow pirates, one of whom, Anne Bonny, replaces Ade as quartermaster.
  • The Stranger from The Walking Dead. Like Lee, he was just trying to survive, and keep his family safe in the Zombie Apocalypse. Then Lee and the group steal the supplies from his car. He loses what's left of his family, what's left of his sanity, and turns from hero to vengeance seeker.
  • Taken literally in the first mission of HAWX, which has you running air support for a mission from one of the Ghost Recon games.
  • In Muramasa: The Demon Blade, Kisuke and Momohime can occasionally meet during the hot springs segments of the game, but aside from certain endings don't directly interact with each other.
  • The Dishonored Series has had four Player Character so far. The protagonist of the first game, and optional protagonist of Dishonored 2 is Corvo Attano, the other optional protagonist of Dishonored 2 is the Empress ascendant Emily Kaldwin, the DLCs The Knife of Dunwall and The Brigmore Witches focus on the exploits of Daud, Empress Jessamine Kaldwin's assassin prior to his fate in the main game, and Dishonored: Death of the Outsider features Daud's protege Billie Lurk.
  • Main protagonist Ragna the Bloodedge from BlazBlue gave himself his title after his teacher Jubei gave him a BFS and Badass Longcoat and told Ragna of their previous owner, Bloodedge. An unsung hero who, in the distant past, fought the Black Beast for an entire year, giving humanity time to learn Ars Magus and prepare to kill it, at the cost of his own life. Subverted in that Bloodedge is Ragna, sent back into the past, de-powered, and with amnesia. So he's really the same hero of the same story.
    • The exploits of Bloodedge, and his battle against the Black Beast, are covered in BlazBlue: Phase 0.
    • Naoto Kuragane is this trope all too literally. Being the Ordinary High-School Student protagonist of Bloodedge Experience, a spin-off light novel that takes place many years before the events of the main story, he is thrust into the events of Centralfiction by time-travel shenanigans.
    • Es is the main heroine of XBlaze and is also part of the Centralfiction cast. Except she's just a copy of the real Es.
    • Mai Natsume is the protagonist of Blaz Blue Remix Heart and Blaz Blue Variable Heart and finally makes her playable appearance in Centralfiction. Unlike Naoto and Es, she's hails from the same world as the other BlazBlue characters and she had her military academy adventures with Noel, Tsubaki and Makoto among others, all three being part of the series since Calamity Trigger.
  • The Portal series: In Portal there are only two characters: Chell and GLaDOS. In Portal 2 we are introduced to Wheatley, and we get to know more about Cave Johnson, founder of Aperture Science, and his assistant, Caroline. But there is another character that is not only common to both games, but is also crucial to the story, as in without his actions, there would be no story at all; and yet we never get to see him - but we find references to him and his work everywhere: "The Ratman". Doug Rattman was a scientist working in the GLaDOS project, and became the only survivor after GLaDOS gassed everyone with Neurotoxins. He then managed to stay alive for several years, living in hiding, moving through the facilities using secret passages; and eventually succeeded in starting the events that lead to Chell facing GLaDOS, and all that happens afterwards. In fact, he is so much a Hero of Another Story that he actually does have his own story
  • In The Night of the Rabbit the Big Bad Great Zaroff and his mentor Marquis de Hoto were this until their Face–Heel Turn.
  • Ish from The Last of Us. In the notes you find from him, you get to read about him developing from a lone survivor hiding out on his boat, to founding and protecting a doomed encampment in the sewers. What happened to him after he and a small pocket escapes the sewer, is a mystery.
  • In the Starfleet Adventures mod for EV Nova the player character's career runs parallel to Star Trek: The Original Series and the first six movies, and events in the live-action canon occasionally reshape the game universe.
  • In The Babylon Project's campaign "The Raider Wars" the Player Character is one to the main cast of Babylon 5. You start out leading part of B5's fighter wing during the series pilot "Midnight on the Firing Line". After the first mission you're transferred to the destroyer EAS Hood.
  • Iroquois Pliskin AKA Solid Snake in Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty. While you're playing as Raiden, Iroquois is having an adventure of his own on Arsenal Gear.
  • In Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, Samus is just one of four bounty hunters summoned for the mission, and it's clear that they all knew of each other and had possibly worked together before. Sadly, all of the others' stories end with them becoming villains of this one.
  • The basic premise of You Are Not The Hero is that you are one, being an NPC that's chasing after the actual heroes because they stole your pendant (an essential Deconstruction of the Kleptomaniac Hero, as well as general RPG heroism).
  • In the Ogre Battle, in a twist, in every game there's the MacGuffin of another story, the Fireseal/crest. While technically it is the most powerful accessory one can wear, its Flavor Text indicates that it's either equally powerful or more than that particular game's doohicky; but nobody knows what it is for.
  • The main cast of The World Ends with You are this in Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance.
  • Played for Laughs in Baldur's Gate II: near the end of the game, you can encounter a group of much lower level adventurers who ask you for a quest. If you give them one, they return soon after and decide they're strong enough to defeat you and loot your magic items. One cutscene curb-stomp battle later, they "reload" and hand in the quest normally.
    • The player can encounter Drizzt Do'Urden (a huge figure in the Forgotten Realms setting) in the both games in the series. They can even recruit him and his party to help take on Bodhi and her vampire army in the second game. Or they can just try and kill him for his sweet loot. They also encounter the equally influential Elminster at several points, though unlike Drizzt he has slightly more of a stake in the story as it's implied that he's keeping tabs on the Bhaalspawn as a favor to their late foster father.
  • In Sonic the Hedgehog Spin-Off Shadow the Hedgehog, the Chaotix are seen working toward figuring out something pivotal to the games plot, which involves collecting bits of data that prove pivotal to the Final Story of the game.
  • Ada Wong tends to be this in pretty much every Resident Evil title she appears in, along with typically being one of the few characters who actually knows what's really going on. Sometimes, like in Resident Evil 6, you get to actually play her version of the story and see just how much she actually contributes to the main character's storyline without them even knowing about it.
  • This is a central game mechanic in Resident Evil 2. Whoever you finish the game first with becomes the main character and hero of "Story A", and then you're free to play the other character's "Story B" and see what they had to deal with (most notably the unstoppable Tyrant T-103 who never makes an appearance in the A storyline), with the implication being they were picking up the weapons and ammo you missed and the items you had discarded once they were "no longer useful".
  • New Canton Runner 5, first seen in the Canton-perspective Race missions from Zombies, Run!, got Put on a Bus to London at the start of Season 2 to avoid confusion with the game's protagonist, the Runner 5 of Able Township. Canton 5 would go on to feature in two side missions, eventually becoming "the greatest hero in London" by doing a lot more behind the scenes than anyone knows. The player only gets to hear the full extent of Canton 5's adventures after their Bus Crash on the way home.
  • Aganos from the 2013 Killer Instinct game is completely disconnected from both Ultratech, Gargos and the entire Killer Instinct tournament. It just pops up suddenly as part of its millenia-long journey to bring Kan-Ra (himself largely unconnected to the main plot) to justice, while beating the crap out of anyone who gets in its way, though it does eventually join the fight against Ultra Tech during Story mode when they try to mind control it.
  • Percel, a Frieza Clansman NPC Time Patroller, is this in Dragon Ball Xenoverse. He tells you of his mission, where he's in the era of the original Dragon Ball where Demon King Piccolo has fused with Kami and he and his demons wage war on Earth against the Red Ribbon Army and he must put things back together. Even worse, Babidi shows up later on as a third party to complicate things. When you beat the game, Percel proudly proclaims victory!
    • The player characters in both games are also this. While they take part in events of the anime/manga, it's largely to make sure things go as they should be. The time patroller is mainly taking part in a plot that largely goes well beyond the scope of what Goku and the others are dealing with.
  • Undertale, true to form, deconstructs this through Undyne, who becomes the hero of YOUR story if you have opted to become the villain of it and pursue the Genocide route. All the characters met until her are certain she'll defeat the player if they make it that far, and her boss encounter begins with the flavor text "The heroine appears." with decidedly more uplifting music than her battle has in other routes. The fates of minor and background characters on this path play out like an extended "dark ending" for the rest of the game following her defeat.
    • Also, played straight with Gerson (the turtle shopkeeper) who was a hero on the monster side in the war between monsters and humans long ago. While it's stated that not a single human died during the war, so he can't have killed anybody, one is left only to imagine what he might have done to help his kind escape, considering he's the only NPC in the entire game to not only not be afraid of you, but actually taunt and trash-talk you.
  • In Trail of Anguish, this combines with a lampshading of the Adventure Game Hyperspace Arsenal when the protagonist goes out on a date:
    After about fifteen minutes, Chris opens the door. He's wearing a wonderful-looking tuxedo.
    "I hope I don't look funny carrying around all these items," you say.
    He squints for a few seconds before he sees them. Then he replies, "Nah, it's okay. Everyone's on an adventure of some sort, after all." You nod, only now noticing that he's somehow concealing a bicycle, a bungee cord, and a horse in his pocket. Looks exciting.
  • Lotte from Clock Tower spends the entire game practically out of sight (though she can save you at several key points depending on your choices and actions), and you finally find her in the final stretch of the game, collapsed and dying from fatal injuries she has sustained, with her invaluable exposition strongly implying she had come this close to solving the mystery and finishing the game on her own.
  • Odin Sphere:
    • Ingway has an important ongoing plot that is as critical to the main story as those of the five playable protagonists. Despite this, his lack of a Psypher (the unique magical weapons that the playable characters wield and that basic gameplay revolves around), and his ultimate fate as one of the final bosses mean that we only ever see some of what he's up to whenever he shows up in a given character's chapter. His status as this is so prominent that he was briefly considered to be Promoted to Playable in the game's Updated Re-release until it was decided that doing so would unnecessarily complicate things.
    • This applies to the playable protagonists in general. When you play as one character, the other characters show up from time to time as either allies, enemies, or even lovers.
  • Splatoon 2's story mode revolves around Agent 4 and their adventure through Octo Canyon to help Marie find Callie. Cap'n Cuttlefish and Agent 3, the Mission Control and player character of Splatoon, don't show up in this campaign, with Marie explaining their absence as being on a mission of their own. The game's Octo Expansion reveals that both of them (along with Pearl and Marina, the game's newcomers who also made no appearance in the main game's story mode) were in fact helping Agent 8 escape the subway they were lost in.
  • Two story events in Granblue Fantasy have Siegfried playing this role. In Four Knights of a Fallen Land, he single-handedly holds off an army coming to invade Feendrache, and in A Song of Ice and Fire he signs an alliance to protect an otherwise-defenseless Feendrache, and also destroys several of Aglovale's magic circles that were giving him power.
  • Because the Trails Series is one giant long arc spanning for so many games, characters who used to be the protagonists of their own series may be having adventures off-screen compared to the characters the player controls at the time.
    • Cassius Bright, the father of the main characters of The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky FC is apparently so badass that the Society of Ouroboros caused a crisis in Erebonia specifically so that he could be the hero of that story and not be in the way of their efforts in Liberl. Details of exactly what he had been up to can be found in one of the Star Doors in The Third.
    • The Legend of Heroes: Zero no Kiseki has Estelle and Joshua doing their Bracer work on and off-screen while Lloyd and the SSS are doing their own thing. Meanwhile, Ao No Kiseki has Kevin and Ries doing their undercover work.
    • Reversed during the Divertissment Chapter of The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel where Rean Schwarzer, the protagonist of the game, becomes this trope as the players control Lloyd and Rixia guiding them through the advanced sewers of Crossbell to erase any important data. The players do see snippets of the things Rean has been doing for the first few minutes before the control transfers to the two Crossbell citizens. By Cold Steel III however, Lloyd plays this trope straight where he's doing his own thing while Rean and the new Class VII are doing their adventures onscreen.
  • We Happy Few of course has Arthur Hastings, Sally Boyle, and Ollie Starkey, the three playable characters who each play small but notable roles in the other playable character stories, but the real hero of another tale is Prudence Holmes, the City Hall employee who's office is beside Arthur's and who "went on holiday" prior to the game's events. One letter reveals that she is a Downer like the three main characters and on a mission to uncover the secrets of Wellington Wells, and you eventually do find her corpse in the Motilene Mines: mere minutes away from the end of the game meaning she went through an adventure similar to Arthur's.
  • The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt: Geralt is this. The real conflict in this story is saving the Multiverse from the White Frost - his surrogate daughter who he is searching for half the game is key to that.
  • About halfway through BoxxyQuest: The Gathering Storm, the protagonists cross paths with another group of heroes who are after the same set of Plot Coupons, but for different reasons. They’ve all got unique designs and personality quirks, and see you as minor characters inside their story. The true ending path expands on the nature of their quest, and you can find them at the entrance to the Sky Abyss, having failed to make the climb themselves.
  • Pathfinder: Kingmaker: It has some with the other groups claiming parts of the Stolen Lands with just the main game, but the Varnhold's Lot DLC takes place parallel to Act II of the main game, providing backstory for an event you encounter in the main game, turning your protagonist there (the General) into this for the main game, and the protagonist of the main game (the Baron/ess) into this for Varnhold's Lot. If you do the right things, the General will continue to be this between the end of Varnhold's Lot and the endgame, being implied to have gotten into adventures of their own after getting lost in action before swooping in to help out at the final battle.
  • A side mission in Watch_Dogs 2 has protagonist Marcus on the trail of human traffickers only to learn that Aiden Pearce was already targeting him, Pearce is only seen once, held captive by the Bratva where Marcus creates a distraction to let him escape but it's made clear that he has continued the battle against crime since his game ended.
  • In World of Warcraft the two factions have completely separate stories, although with some overlap (they do most of the same dungeons and raids, some of the same quests). In addition, in the expansion Legion, each class had it's own story alongside the main story of the expansion. Thus, other players in the game are this trope: even moreso than in most MMORPGs.
  • Star Wars: The Old Republic has all of the companions and supporting characters become this after the third expansion's Time Skip, with all of them having had their own adventures in the five years you were frozen. Probably the biggest example being Kira and Scourge killing the Emperor's original body while the player dealt with his spirit.
  • String Tyrant: The map is littered with helpful hints from Eileen, who was apparently just short of escaping the mansion. You can find her transformed.
  • Devil May Cry:
    • The series' backstory revolves around Ascended Demon Sparda who rebelled against the forces of the demon world to protect humanity. In the modern day, his legacy is carried on by son Dante and grandson Nero.
    • In Devil May Cry 2, we are introduced to Matier, the adoptive mother of Deuteragonist Lucia. Matier fought side by side with Sparda to seal away the demon Argosax the Chaos and even briefly had a relationship with him. In the present, Dante and Lucia save the world from Argosax's return just as their parents did all those years ago. The Protectors clan that Matier and Lucia belong to are a race of demon-human hybrids who have defended the human world for years but their exploits are not talked about aside from the aforementioned team up of Sparda and Matier and only Matier and Lucia are shown in the game.
    • In Devil May Cry: The Animated Series, it's stated that Trish had struck out on her own for a while as a solo demon hunter. However, the only fights we see her partake in are with Dante and Lady. Lady herself also has her independent devil-hunting career that is never really seen aside from a few snippets of her hunting demons on her own.
  • In any other game, Taro Yamada would be the lead/player character for a Dating Sim or harem anime (he's even Conveniently Seated!). Unfortunately, he's in Yandere Simulator, which means he's just the end goal for the Yandere trying to get him.
  • No Straight Roads has the underground rapper DK West, the previous musical artist to oppose NSR's regime. His influence was so great that they set his car on fire by retaliation, and though he may have ultimately failed in his endeavor, he invoked enough respect from Tatiana that he gave her his Horn of Mending to contact him, should she let bygones be bygones.
  • Dragon Quest III: Many comments made by various NPCs and the opening title scene of the game, reveal snippets of Ortega's heroic ordeal in trying to save the world. He even fought a few powerful monsters the Hero never encountered (most likely because Ortega slew them). While ultimately unsuccessful, he went down like a true hero and put up one hell of a fight til the very end.

    Visual Novels 

    Web Animation 
  • Red vs. Blue is primarily about the soldiers that were assigned to Blood Gulch, but we get an occasional glimpse of other teams stationed elsewhere. Or, as Vic put it in the opening to episode 6 of season 14...
    Vic: Y'know, when most people talk about the Reds and Blues, they're talking about my boys at Blood Gulch. But, lotsa dudes forget that there's a bunch more primary colored commandos all over the galaxy. And they're all idiots.
  • Anon: Dani and Mia were originally the main characters in another series by the creator, called Faux, before crossing over to the main show.

  • Homestuck:
    • The kids' guardians, who, though often ignored or avoided by the main characters, show up all over the place, occasionally helping the kids from the background while engaging in their own adventures.
    • Not to mention fedorafreak, who only ever appears on a Twitter expy for three frames, and provides regular updates about, respectively, his choice of hats, his house burning down, The End of the World as We Know It, his own journey through another session of Sburb and, finally, his death, possibly on a Quest Bed (which would allow his ascension to God Tier). The forums make him a Memetic Badass.
    • The trolls' ancestors played an unsuccessful session that resulting in the Scratch, resetting their universe so our trolls could have another chance.
  • On the cast page of Precocious, Kaitlyn is described as "the central character in another strip". She literally became the Hero of Another Story later, with the introduction of the Precocious spinoff strip, Copper Road.
  • In Girl Genius:
  • The Order of the Stick:
    • It is heavily implied that adventuring parties and Player Characters in the world are this. Nale and his adventuring party (the Linear Guild) tries to pretend they are this, claiming they are in the same dungeon on a completely different quest (although later turns out to be a lie).
    • Inverted at one point when the Order run into a pair of villains from another story, a dwarf and a Ninja who are trying to murder The King of Nowhere (don't ask).
    • Julio Scoundrél was one of the most prolific heroes of his day (in more ways than one) and serves as Elan's mentor as well as The Cavalry. He considers Tarquin to be one of his B-List villains.
    • Parodied with the gag character Frudu Biggens, who is on a completely unrelated quest to destroy a Ming vase with his friend Samwose.
    • Characters who individual party members have had assorted interactions with include Eugene Greenhilt (Roy's dad, who was an adventurer in his heyday) and Sir François (the guy Elan was Heralding before he ditched him after screwing up another one of their adventures).
    • One chapter depicts the formation of a party of Heroes of Another Story — at the end of the arc, various miscellaneous characters with no real connection to each other (including Haley's father, a soldier from a conquered city, and two bounty hunters that started a fight with Roy and Belkar) form a group to overthrow The Empire.
    • From the backstory, the Order of the Scribble were a groups of adventurers whose adventures set the foundation for the current plot.
    • Vaarsuvius, although a protagonist, ends up being the Hero(ine?) of Another Story while stuck on the Semi-Elemental Plane of Ranch Dressing. V won't speak of it to anyone, though, and the readers only see the aftermath.
  • Goblins has two groups of main characters in a RPG setting, one as if it were a real world (the titular Goblins) and another who act like a group of RPG players, making meta comments all the time. Then there's another RPG player group that fares poorly and seems only to show up to complain about their previous characters dying before dying again, yet reference adventures that aren't shown.
  • Lovely Lovecraft: Randolph Carter. Armitage briefly touches on Carter's investigations with Warren (a story drawn directly from The Statement of Randolph Carter), and Iranon summarizes portions of Carter's adventures from The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath. However, Carter has not physically appeared in the main storyline of Lovely Lovecraft.
  • The Walkyverse, spanning as it does at least half a dozen different authors, is a tangled, continuity-challenged rat's nest of this trope.
  • Magick Chicks inverts the trope with Melissa Hellrune. She was originally from Eerie Cuties, where she was an antagonist to Layla Delacroix. But her popularity with the readers lead to her being given her own Spin-Off comic, where she became the protagonist, who's gradually being reformed into a heroine — though she's reluctant to change her ways.
  • Ménage à 3 did the same with Dillon and Sandra, who were both given starring roles in their own spin-off comics: Sticky Dilly Buns (which shows Dillon's life in his own apartment in Montreal, and actually ends up spending a lot of time on his roommates) and Sandra on the Rocks (which follows Sandra's misadventures as a model in Paris, again with a fair amount of digression onto the rest of the cast).
  • Exterminatus Now occasionally features Inquisitor Damien's hyper-competent B-Team and Inquisitor Deket's hyper-destructive C-Team. Inquisitor Brisbane also appears in numerous background and flashback shots and Schaefer was shown having his own adventures once.
  • Isaac from Paranatural is a shounen protagonist who in between adventures is a side character in a affectionate parody of shounen. The other characters sometimes walk in on the end of his adventures.
  • Bugged Run follows the plot of Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen by about 15 minutes, with the main character routinely arriving at locations from the game just in time to deal with the fallout of the game's player character's actions.
  • Murai in Digger. She is A Hero and The Chosen One. She has a Great, Heroic Destiny in front of her. She is also a mentally broken teenager, and not the hero; the story of Digger is not her story. As a result, her future heroic destiny and chosen-ness is not at all related to solving the issues of the story at all, and Murai spends much of it vacillating between feeling like The Load towards their current goals and feeling crushed by her future destiny. Digger at one point opines that she hopes Murai just ran away because it would be good for her to leave all that Destiny behind. Murai does end up aiding Digger in a small but vital way near the end, and the Statue of Ganesh implies the events of the comic formed a vital part of her Character Development for when it is her turn to become The Hero.

    Web Original 
  • Not an example in and of itself, but Cracked lists Six Movie/Tv Universes That Overlap.
  • SF Debris gives us "Lieutenant Nobody" from Star Trek: First Contact; his take on the unseen original chief of security of the Enterprise-E before Worf, who repeatedly demonstrates he's the Hyper-Competent Sidekick developing new tactics to fight the Borg on the fly, keeps his team fighting against impossible odds, and who of course, is completely ignored by the Enterprise crew.
  • In Pay Me, Bug!, there's some kind of coup in progress against Baron Minerva Tyrelos. Grif stumbles into the middle of it, and nearly gets himself killed. We never find out who's behind it, what their ultimate plan is, or whether the Baron's plan to have her brother publicly take the blame ever worked.
  • In the Whateley Universe, there are several. Lady Astarte, the greatest superheroine of the era, is hovering around in the background, because she's the headmistress of the Superhero School the main characters go to. At Halloween, when Deathlist attacks, she takes him on single-handed and wins. There are lots of references to former battles she has fought and former superheroes she has known, because she has been superheroing since World War II. Skyhawk, one of the main superheroes of Boston, probably counts as well.
  • Worm:
    • While the adventures of the Undersiders are the main focus, Faultine's crew, a group of superpowered mercenaries, crops up from time to time pursuing their own goals, and interludes focusing on them tell of their investigation into Cauldron independent of the main plotline.
    • Likewise, the Travelers. To the point of getting an entire arc devoted to them.
    • Word of God has stated that the Las Vegas Protectorate and the Thanda regularly battle S-Class threats whose abilities are either too subtle or potentially panic-inducing to be publicized.
  • In Chrono Hustle there are several TRD agents who are briefly shown or mentioned, who are often dealing with other issues than the main cast. Special mention goes to Elliot Bishop who joins up with the main characters at one point, and then later goes back to his previous mission. In addition there are the characters in the various time periods who have their own things going on, such as the crew of the Space Station Oracle in 2347, or the Neanderthal tribe in the stone age.
  • The Tales of Paul Twister has two examples:
  • Void Domain has something of an Ensemble Cast. Loads and Loads of Characters all get their own chapters, each doing their own thing. Even with that, some characters never get a chapter but can still be seen doing things in the background.

    Web Videos 
  • During the Crossover between Dark Harvest and Tribe Twelve, Alex and Chris (the former) are this to Noah Maxwell (the latter), and vice versa.
  • Similarly, Everyman HYBRID meets Jeff, Alex and Chris, as well as Noah Maxwell, in their Crossover episodes.
  • Twitch Plays Pokémon:
    • Kris "The Girl Who Never Was" of Twitch Plays Pokémon Crystal. We'll likely never know what her journey would've been like.
    • Twitch Plays Pokémon Emerald introduces the 7 or so kids chosen by the Mob before finally settling on Camilla A. Slash, who may or may not be inhabiting her by the time the plot kicks in.
    • The Red of the Reset universe in Twitch Plays Pokémon Red. Later installments such as Crystal and Anniversary Red turn our Red into this, since he is encountered by AJ in the post-game and is mentioned by Abe in the latter's plot.
  • Former Atop the Fourth Wall character Iron Liz was shown to be this when Linkara's Mirror Universe double came looking for her.
    Linkara: She's around, just doing her own thing.
  • Critical Role: After Tary leaves Vox Machina, he returns to Wildemount and starts his own adventuring party, the Darrington Brigade. Background references imply that the Darrington Brigade is still active twenty years later during the Mighty Nein campaign. Additionally, most of the guest characters are going on adventures in their own right, and Vox Machina and the Mighty Nein detour to help them with their adventures about as often as they help the party with their ongoing goals.

    Western Animation 
  • The Cabbage Merchant from Avatar: The Last Airbender. Somehow, despite the Gaang travelling on an air bison and him being presumably on foot, he managed to arrive at places at the exact time that they did, only for them to destroy his produce.
    • The past Avatars who serve as spirit advisers to Aang. They've all had experience preserving balance in the world, and we see brief flashbacks to foes encountered in the past, such as Avatar Kuruk's conflict with Koh the Face Stealer, and Avatar Kiyoshi's fateful duel with Chin the Conqueror. Avatar Roku in particular plays a very important part in the backstory, being Fire Lord Sozin's former friend and the grandfather of Prince Zuko. These events have lasting repercussions that Aang ends up having to deal with at some point.
    • Katara and Sokka's father Hakoda, who'd been fighting in the Hundred Year War since before the start of the series.
    • Iroh, a firebending master previously known as one of the Fire Nation's best and most fearsome generals until his son was killed in the war. By the start of the series he's pulled a Heel–Face Turn, joins the Order of the White Lotus, and spends a great deal of time trying to reach his misguided nephew, Prince Zuko. He ends up being the closest thing the show has to a Big Good, other than Aang himself.
  • Be Cool, Scooby-Doo!: In The Teaser of "In Space," Garrett is Genre Savvy enough not to get tricked into touching a mysterious alien artifact. Then, he manages to avoid being captured by the monster for several weeks or months (unlike his crew-mates).
  • The DC Animated Universe was fond of this, especially when it entered the Justice League Unlimited era.
    • The pilot for JLU, "Initiation", sets the stage as Green Lantern, Green Arrow, Supergirl and Captain Atom go on a mission to a fictional North Korean Expy country. Green Arrow just wanted to go home but got dragged into the story because all the other heroes were off doing other missions, and he needed a ride.
    • Subsequent episodes would often include J'onn J'onzz or Mister Terrific at the monitor watching and directing various heroes around the globe doing all sorts of heroic stuff that had nothing to do with that episode's plot, especially if said plot was set primarily on the Watchtower itself.
    • "The Greatest Story Never Told" focuses on the glory hog Booster Gold who is busted down to directing pedestrians to safety while the rest of the League fight the Dark Lord Mordru, who is strong enough to take them all and an obviously awesomely powerful villain, and the first "Omega-Level" threat the League comes up against. We hardly get to see any of it. Booster's own story however ends up seeing him saving the world from a black hole and getting the girl while the other heroes are too busy fighting. He gets berated by an injured Batman at the end for abandoning his post.
    • "Patriot Act" involves a crazed general giving himself super-powers to battle the League because he sees this group of superhumans, lording over them in a space station, as a potential threat to national security. He calls out Superman for a fight, but Shining Knight tells him that Superman is fighting to save a planet from an unspecified crisis, and that all the other genuine superhumans are all out doing other stuff. He ends up having to face Green Arrow and an assortment of lesser known "normal" heroes, eventually including reserve members the Crimson Avenger (who, basically, just has a gun) and Arrow's ex-sidekick Speedy (who, naturally, is just an expy of GA himself), the only back-up available. This is the closest either two get to spending a day in the limelight, and Avenger doesn't even get dialogue while Speedy is never seen again, and that was his debut.
  • In the pilot to Superman: The Animated Series, Martha Kent mentions "that nut in Gotham City". The two heroes met later, setting the stage for the DC Animated Universe. There were multiple guest appearances of several DC heroes and villains in both Superman and Batman (the former more than the latter); many of them went on to make appearances in Justice League.
  • Teen Titans: Speedy might've gotten the shaft (no pun intended) on Justice League Unlimited but he was set up as a recurring hero on Teen Titans as a rival for Robin, eventually forming Titans East along with other heroes who had previous appearances.
  • The future Justice League in Batman Beyond.
  • In Darkwing Duck, Gizmoduck from DuckTales (1987) made many appearances as a hero who had much better adventures and publicity. There were other heroes introduced in the show, including his mystical girlfriend Morgana and the aquatic Neptuna. Eventually, they formed the Justice Ducks. Ducktales 2017 has made a minor Running Gag out of Launchpad's offscreen adventures with his exes, which we only ever get to see the beginning and aftermath of.
  • American Dad! has had a couple appearances by John Mind, a quadruple amputee whose limbs weren't blown off, but "blown in, into his mind," giving him telekinetic powers. He never has more than the most minimal effect on an episode's plot, but he apparently walks the Earth, having adventures as "Mind Quad."
  • Bucky O'Hare and the Toad Wars had Commander Dogstar, commander of the sister ship of the Righteous Indignation, the Indefatigable, and his crew.
  • The Justice League in Young Justice. At one point, Professor Ivo escapes from the team, but appears in prison for most of the rest of the series. We're expected to assume that the Justice League caught him.
  • Conversational Troping in an episode of The Simpsons; when Bart loses his girlfriend to a rich Ace, he fails to win her back at the end of the episode. When Bart protests that the protagonist of the story is supposed to get the girl, her new boyfriend counters that in this case, he is the protagonist.
  • Elise in Dan Vs.. She's a highly skilled spy who is almost always caught up in her own assignments, and it just so happens that these can often cross paths with Dan when he's on whatever his newest tirade is.
  • Subverted with Zapp Brannigan on Futurama, who has many off-screen adventures that are referred to briefly and treated as heroic by characters in-universe, but is actually a Villain with Good Publicity who mostly just leads hilariously one-sided battles against peaceful "foes" or exploits We Have Reserves.
  • Generator Rex: Captain Calan normally leads the troops, but is implied to do all sorts of off-screen adventures, like leading a mission to steal a data cartridge from a foreign country, and feeding information to the protagonists when they defect. White Knight seems to trust him with higher up missions.
    • The Jungle Cat EVO also defects with the protagonists, and is reported to have been investigating the Consortium on WK's orders, and abducting a former member.
  • The Scotsman of Samurai Jack. When he meets Jack (and is unaware of his fame) he regales how he's the most wanted man on the planet.
  • Simon Petrikov on Adventure Time was a Badass Bookworm who survived a nuclear apocalypse, became a Parental Substitute to a half-demon little girl in the aftermath of said apocalypse (instilling in her the desire to be a protector of humanity for years to come), and fought a constant mental battle to resist the corrupting influence of the enchanted crown that allowed him to survive. Unfortunately, the show takes place centuries after he eventually lost that fight, so most of the cast only knows him as the rather crazy and pathetic Ice King.
  • Usagi Yojimbo: Within his own comic, his master Katsuichi became this trope for a time, as he wandered the countryside for a while and, according to several mentions once reunited, had his own share of exciting adventures and peril.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • Derpy Hooves is very strongly implied to be one via loads of Meaningful Background Events. Besides appearing in the background of several important events, as most background characters do, she was once a terrific flier in her youth (even consistently beating Rainbow Dash, Spitfire, and Lightning Dust) until she suffered a Career-Ending Injury of some sort to her eyes, and even in spite of that she's shown to be a brave and selfless pony who was the only non-Wonderbolt to attack Tirek, was among the first of Ponyville's citizens to help combat the Tantabus, and even sacrificed herself to block one of the petrifying orbs that was about to hit Twilight Sparkle in the movie. She seems wholly content to get no praise or regard for any of it from the main heroes.
    • For Rainbow Dash, a main character, the journey to becoming a member of the elite flying group, the Wonderbolts, was a major character arc that spanned many seasons and drove the plot of several episodes. Very little screentime was given to Thunderlane, another Ponyville pegasus who was a background character and occasional Spear Carrier. Still, Thunderlane was shown at the Wonderbolts Academy along with Rainbow Dash, and, just like Rainbow, eventually made it to full Wonderbolt status by the time of the seventh season episode "Marks and Recreation". Given the group's exclusivity (they apparently have a limited number of spots and only promote reservists when an existing full member retires) and prestige, it's safe to say that Thunderlane had to show a lot of hard work and skill to prove himself and advance to the position — all of which happened offscreen.
    • Daring Do is this when she's discovered to be real, and that her numerous adventures — only a small number of which are shown or discussed on-screen — really happened. It's eventually revealed that she's actually the Villain of Another Story, albeit unintentionally, when it's discovered Ahuizotl is a good but not nice temple guardian who is sick of ponies like Daring Do and Dr. Caballeron breaking into temples to steal stuff.
    • In "Inspiration Manifestation", Twilight goes through a lot of offscreen trouble to clean up Rarity's mess. She eventually had to call in backup from Luna and Cadance, and it's made clear that the whole ordeal caused a great amount of stress.
    • The entire Mane Six gets to enjoy being this in the Lower-Deck Episode "Slice of Life". They're busy duking it out with a Bugbear (a literal half-bug half-bear), but the episode focuses entirely on Cranky and Matilda's wedding and the background ponies who are making it happen.
    • "A Flurry of Emotions", "The Beginning of the End" and "Frenemies" describe Gusty the Great, a Precursor Hero who had numerous adventures long before the funding of Equestria and defeated the legendary villain Grogar.
    • "The Last Problem" shows stained glass windows in the Canterlot throne room, the kind reserved for commemorating great victories achieved by Equestria's heroes, depicting the Student Six defeating a rhinoceros-like creature and an adult Flurry Heart doing something with the Crystal Heart, implying they all went on to have their own adventures after the time of the show.
  • Steven Universe:
    • There are a few flashback episodes covering the love story between Steven's dad, Greg, and his mother, Rose Quartz, from when they first met to just after his birth. The show's former supervising director Ian Jones-Quartey once joked that the series is actually the sequel to a non-existent harem anime called "No Need For Greg".
    • Garnet is the focus of a similar love story, only hers happened during the Rebellion for Earth and eventually is explored in "The Answer".
    • Rose was the first Gem to rebel against Homeworld, assembled the Crystal Gems (one can only imagine how the Debut Queue fully played out), and spent centuries protecting the Earth and learning more about its inhabitants. Even in death, her affect on the story and cast cannot be overstated.
    • After Steven brought Lars Back from the Dead and he joined the Off Colors, the next time Steven meets them in "Lars of the Stars," they have come to live as main characters in a sci-fi anime independent of the main plot, complete with its own title cards and established character and plot dynamics.
  • Miyamoto Usagi of Usagi Yojimbo is treated this way during his crossovers with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. This is most apparent in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012), where his guest episodes are told from his perspective with the turtles dropping in on his mission.
  • In The Tick, American Maid, the most competent member of the heroes that our protagonists interact with, is clearly having her own epic adventures on the side that occasionally intersect with the Tick's. During his A Day in the Limelight episode, it turns out that Sewer Urchin, likewise, has his own heroic and successful struggles in the sewers.
  • Trollhunters: In Part 3, a duo of exchange students are introduced. It's hinted that they are up to something and know more than what they let on, but are also doing their own thing away from Jim and have nothing to do with the Trolls. This is the first in-series allusion to the greater Tales of Arcadia trilogy, as they end up being a pair of royal alien fugitives that seek sanctuary on Earth after their planet was taken by a coup, and are the protagonists of the next installment, 3Below.
  • The Amazing World of Gumball has a minor character named Clare Cooper, who is the opposite of the show's actual main character in every way. Where Gumball is a hyperactive New Tens-era Talking Animal starring in a zany Fantastic Comedy, Clare is the Token Human of Anais's class, and seems to be the star of an angsty Nineties Teen Drama called The So-Called World of Clare. Her main gag is a not-so-Inner Monologue and the inability to recognize the fact that her mundane teen problems (like her father losing her job and having to move to Detroit) have a multitude of wacky and fantastical solutions in the world of Elmore (like getting her dad a job at the rainbow factory and buying her house back with a pot of leprechaun gold. Yes, really).
  • The final arc of Transformers: Cyberverse features a number characters whose backstories and adventures have no connection to the Autobot-Decepticon War that drives most of the series.
  • A good portion of the supporting cast from Gargoyles were implied to be having their own adventures and stories going on outside of their encounters with the main characters.
  • To say that Norman, immortal bodyguard supreme to Mighty Max, has led an interesting life would be an understatement. It seems he has actually been the basis of most of the heroic folktales and myths on Earth, canonically having been Thor, Hercules, and Gilgamesh at various points (though whether he was the actual hero or a stand-in when said hero was doing something else was left open for debate). Odds are if an episode's Big Bad's scheme involves reviving some ancient destructive evil, Norman had a hand in putting them down the first time, and said creature tend to view this as "Round 2."
  • Solar Opposites:
    • Yumyulack opted out of the gender-based plots in "The P.A.T.R.I.C.I.A. Device" and ended up having to return a bunch of koalas to the zoo after accidentally freeing them.
    • In "Terry and Korvo Steal a Bear", we only see brief glimpses of the family's adventure, as the focus is mainly on the residents of the wall.

    Real Life 
  • You may see your best friend or anyone else close to you as this.
    • Illustrated in the Sonder video.
    • It can be quite disconcerting to look around yourself in a public place and think how everyone else is also seeing themselves as "the person looking around themselves at a bunch of strangers"
      • Which is perfectly demonstrated by this xkcd comic.
      • And this SMBC one.
      • And a bit more concretely in this Subnormality one
      • This really depends on your point of view. Someone who may be the Hero Of Another Story to one person may be the villain in yours or their own. Likewise, you may consider yourself the villain, and thus the Hero Of Another Story the only hero there is, and only the one story - theirs.
  • The scientists working on Ultra (the Enigma code breakers during World War II) were this for a long time to the scientists working on the Manhattan project (development of the atomic bomb). While the latter were widely recognized for their work, Ultra was kept officially secret until 1974.
  • Happens to actors themselves. The supporting actors in the massive blockbuster movies are often the headliners in smaller budget movies and television.
    • This tends to happen a lot with comedians. Sometimes they're cast as a supporting character, usually the Plucky Comic Relief, in massive blockbusters or just films that are more dramatic, while playing lead roles in comedy films.
    • Some films cast A-list actors in supporting roles alongside A-list actors given the lead roles to further drive home the idea that the supporting characters are themselves the heroes of other stories happening just off screen; one example being the aforementioned Saving Private Ryan.
  • "Supergroups" in music. By definition the members all have successful solo careers and other bands, so anyone listening to, for example, Cream records, can then dig into all the Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker records.
  • The White Star Line's RMS Olympic, older sister and running mate to the ill-fated Titanic. Nicknamed "Old Reliable", she had a twenty-year career at sea, including surviving an accidental collision with a warship in 1911 and running over and sinking a U-Boat during World War I. She was also one of the ships who rushed to her stricken sister's side in April 1912, but was well over 500 miles away when she received the distress call. When she was 100 miles out her captain offered to offload passengers from the much smaller RMS Carpathia, which had picked up the survivors, but was immediately turned down by Captain Arthur Rostron, who didn't think it such a good idea to ask the survivors of the sinking to board the near-identical twin of the ship they had just seen die. And yet, her long and stellar career is only a footnote in the story of her ill-fated sister.
  • Imagine being a first responder, law enforcement officer or government agent (like an FBI agent for example). Maybe one day you pull off something extraordinary; you rescue a family from a burning home, you solve a major case, you apprehend a terrorist or something else along those lines. You’re a hero and everyone tells you that. But remember that such things are pulled off daily by people like you all around the world; there are always brave men and women committing major acts of heroism that often go unnoticed by society at large because it’s just their job to do so. They may not get recognition for it, but there are many people out there doing what you do or something similar and they’re heroes too.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Colonel Makepeace, Heroes Of Another Story


Canny Tim

In 1285, King Peregrin held the 49th Gallowmere Games, an annual contest where the most skilled warriors from the land would compete for top honors. This was the year Canny Tim entered the competition and won top prizes in all the archery categories of the event. The king was so impressed, he made Canny Tim a marksman of a crossbowman part of the cavalry led by Sir Dan, as well as Dan's second in command.

A year later, Tim killed Zarok's champion, Lord Kardok, in the Battle of Gallowmere by shooting him in the eye from a thousand yards away, thus earning a place in the Hall of Heroes after death.

How well does it match the trope?

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Example of:

Main / HeroOfAnotherStory

Media sources:

Main / HeroOfAnotherStory